Saint John's Magazine Summer/Fall 2020

Page 38

TRANSFORMING LIVES

OUR HOUR OF NEED Johnnies Rise to the Challenge

In early March, Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict had to think about the unthinkable. To help reduce the risk and spread of the COVID-19 virus, SJU and CSB announced the suspension of in-person classes and students were informed that they needed to return home. “As we face a global health pandemic, we are reminded of the fragility of our world; of the need to balance thoughtful decision-making with an ever-evolving situation; of the need to proceed factually while never losing sight of the humanity of those impacted,” wrote the CSB and SJU presidents. “Our goals are first and foremost to

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keep our students, faculty and staff safe, including those most vulnerable in this situation, while supporting course completion and graduation.” Within hours, the Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s communities sprung to action to address the pressing needs of students. The following day, an emergency appeal was sent to alumni, parents and friends.

THE EMERGENCY FUND Not surprisingly, charitable gifts began flowing in, immediately and steadily. “Within an hour we had over 100 gifts to the Student Emergency Fund,” said Rob Culligan ’82, vice president for Institutional Advancement at SJU. “We didn’t have a specific goal in mind for this fund, which was probably all for the best, because by the second day we had surpassed all expectations.”

“Some of our Bennies and Johnnies will have limited or no financial resources to travel home and to cover other expenses related to our response to the pandemic. We know that many of you may want to help these students. CSB and SJU have established funds to immediately help our most vulnerable students.

Alumni and friends donated $93,000 to Saint John’s students, and Saint Ben’s received similar support for Bennies.

“These funds will provide immediate assistance – from flights to food and other unforeseen expenses. To that end, we invite your support.”

“This is a great idea for Johnnies and Bennies to help one another,” wrote Denny Bracco ’75. Another alumnus wrote: “My friend is a Tommie, and he