Dougherty Family College Dean Buff Smith spoke with the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press about the anonymous $10 million gift the two-year college received so that it can continue its work closing the educational achievement gap for underserved students.
From the Star Tribune:
"Every conversation that I've had with community leaders, with corporate leaders, they all ask, 'well, what can we do?'" said Buffy Smith, the dean of Dougherty Family College. Smith said most of the school's donors want to give in order to help eliminate the college attainment gap.
The college attainment gap refers to the disproportionate amount of students of color that are unable to graduate with college degrees due to various limiting societal factors. Closing this gap is an important aspect of Dougherty's mission, which focuses on providing a transitional education that is also culturally affirming.
From the Pioneer Press:
The $10 million donation, which the university plans to match with another $10 million (raised in donations), will bring the Dougherty college endowment to $60 million, which should be enough to permanently cover all other costs for students besides the $1,000 a year.
“No one can ever say they got a free ride, because that’s not the case,” Smith said. “That’s empowering.”
The college was created with a large donation from investment banker Michael Dougherty.
Additional gifts from Gene and Mary Frey and the estate of entrepreneurs Marty Ryan and Richard Sterbenz are covering third- and fourth-year tuition and fees at St. Thomas for many Dougherty students who go on to enroll at the university.