Saint Mary's College Announces $10 Million Combined Gift

—Largest Single Private Gift in College's History—

Science Hall will be renovated, thanks to gifts from Clayton and MaryAnn Mathile and their daughter Jennifer Mathile Prikkel '95.
Science Hall will be renovated, thanks to gifts from
Clayton and MaryAnn Mathile and their daughter
Jennifer Mathile Prikkel '95.

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
(574) 284-4579 (desk)

March 26, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—With gratitude, Saint Mary's College President, Carol Ann Mooney, announced today that Saint Mary’s received the largest single private gift in the College’s 167-year history. Philanthropists MaryAnn and Clayton Mathile, parents of Saint Mary’s alumna Jennifer Mathile Prikkel ’95, donated $9 million dollars to Saint Mary’s for the renovation of Science Hall, which houses the Departments of Biology and Chemistry/Physics. In addition, Prikkel, a member of Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees, has donated $1 million to the project for a combined gift of $10 million.

“This transformational gift will provide facilities equal to the quality of our students and faculty. The Mathiles believe in the power of women’s education and they have invested in Saint Mary’s College because we adhere to the Holy Cross tradition of educating both the mind and the heart. Saint Mary's has taught science to women for nearly 150 years and this gift will ensure that our current and future students will work in cutting edge laboratories and classrooms,” said Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney.

Mooney made the gift announcement at the conclusion of the “Celebrating the Education of Women in Science” event held today at the women’s college. The event showcased student research and featured a panel of esteemed young science alumnae who returned to their alma mater to share the stories of their career paths with students and the public. The Mathiles and Prikkel, who are from Dayton, Ohio, were on campus for the announcement.Clayton and MaryAnn Mathile
Clayton and MaryAnn Mathile

“At a time when the U.S. is losing its competitiveness as a leader in science and technology, the renovation of Science Hall will encourage more students to earn degrees in fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). We are also confident that Saint Mary’s will continue to attract the best academic leaders to its exceptional faculty. For Mary and me, it is humbling to know that we are helping Saint Mary’s prepare the next generation of faith-filled scientists,” said Clayton Mathile.

Clayton Mathile is an entrepreneur who built his success on the science of developing world-class pet food. He sold the Iams Co. to The Procter and Gamble Company in 1999. The sale allowed Clayton and MaryAnn to greatly enhance their philanthropic efforts. The couple shares a strong belief in serving God by helping others.

“When Jen told us that she had pledged one million dollars of her funds to this project, Clay and I were inspired. We were already impressed with Saint Mary’s leadership team and the impact the College has made on Jen’s life. So then, we prayed about it, and asked God to give us a feeling that our contribution would be in His service. Once we had our answer, that was it,” said MaryAnn Mathile.

MaryAnn Mathile received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from the College in 2006. Saint Mary’s recognized her for her contributions to strengthening families, communities and education through her work with The Mathile Family Foundation (see below) and for her unwavering commitment to Catholic education demonstrated through her generosity towards Saint Mary's College. She and her husband and their daughter, Jennifer Mathile Prikkel, provided a leadership gift and challenge grant towards the construction of the academic building Spes Unica Hall. Their gifts encouraged many others to come forward. The building was dedicated in the fall of 2008.

Major Mathile philanthropic efforts include:

  • The Mathile Family Foundation, which serves children and families in need in the Dayton area through grants to organizations whose programs align with the Foundation's mission and focus areas.
  • Aileron, a state of the art campus in the Dayton area that helps private business owners apply sound business practices to succeed.
  • In 2009, the Mathiles funded the construction of the Mathile Center for Natural Sciences at Clay’s alma mater, Ohio Northern University.

While Clayton Mathile is among Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans, he has also been listed among BusinessWeek’s 50 Most Generous Philanthropists. Prikkel, who graduated from Saint Mary's College with a degree in religious studies, said her parents’ gift should be seen as an endorsement of the College.Jennifer Mathile Prikkel '95
Jennifer Mathile Prikkel '95

“My parents don’t just write checks and give away money. They give it to worthy places. They look at their wealth as a responsibility, a calling from God. They make investments that can produce an outcome where people can do good things for God’s glory,” Prikkel said.

“Saint Mary’s produces scientists who are socially aware, who are making a difference in the world,” she added. “I recently met two seniors whose research uses inexpensive paper analytical devices (PADs) in the wars against malaria and elephantitis. I was amazed at their work. Imagine what our students will be able to do when they have state of the art facilities in which to study and do their experiments.”

The Mathile and Prikkel gifts to the renovation of Science Hall will support carefully planned, phased improvements to the structure. The current building was completed in 1955. Between 1985 and 1987, a $6.5 million transformation doubled the size of the building. Science Hall will be modernized to create new learning and study spaces that encourage students to collaborate with their peers. Labs will be refurbished and expanded, which will not only help biology and chemistry/physics students, but also support growing programs such as nursing. In addition, updated equipment and technology will be purchased. Science alumnae are overjoyed at the news.Assistant Professor of Biology Ryan Dombkowski works in the lab with students.
Ryan Dombkowski, associate professor of biology,
works in lab with students.

Heather Muse White ’05, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Indiana University of Medicine, said, “This remarkable gift to the science programs will allow for improvement and expansion of the resources available for continuing laboratory sections and senior comprehensive research projects. Combined, these experiences were invaluable in preparing me for graduate school and undoubtedly gave me an advantage as I started my research program. Having improved facilities will make our students even better prepared and successful in their pursuits.” White graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry.

“This generous contribution helps women at Saint Mary's pursue scientific studies by enhancing the ability to experience their programs with the most up-to-date facilities. In so doing, students will be strong, competitive and prepared well for the careers they pursue,” said RoseMarie Lopez Jones ’80, M.D., F.A.C.S. Jones is Medical Director for Community North Hospital's Bariatric Center of Excellence in Indianapolis, and is a member of Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.

“Saint Mary's has a brilliant faculty with eager science students waiting to soak up pools of scientific knowledge. With a tremendous gift like this, the investment in young women's science careers is capitulated into another world of state-of-the-art instrumentation with tomorrow's technology,” said Roseann Enyedy Cyngier ’81. Cyngier, PhD, who majored in chemistry at Saint Mary's College, is President of Cyngier Heating & Air Conditioning. She holds two patents on catalysts and one on enhanced oil recovery and filed eight patents while employed by Sohio (now BP).

A timetable for the renovations to Science Hall has not yet been determined.


About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.