Guy Schoenecker, a 1949 alumnus of the University of St. Thomas, was the founder, chairman and CEO of Edina-based BI Worldwide, formerly known as Business Incentives. His passion for St. Thomas and the value of higher education was evident through his generous donations of both dollars and time.
Since 1977, the Schoenecker Family Endowed Scholarship has provided more than 300 individual awards and $3.7 million in financial assistance to St. Thomas students, and it will make a transformative St. Thomas education accessible to generations more to come.
Schoenecker served on the St. Thomas Board of Trustees for 30 years (1978-2008) and was a founding member of the School of Law’s Board of Governors in 2001. He also served for 35 years on the board of the Catholic Digest, a monthly magazine that St. Thomas sold in 2002 – the same year that the magazine gave him the Leading with Faith Award.
Schoenecker’s financial contributions led to the construction of the old Schoenecker Arena (1981) and the current Schoenecker Arena (2010), named for his parents. His gifts also helped fund the Schoenecker Law Library (2003) in the School of Law on the Minneapolis campus. He was one of the founders of St. Thomas’ downtown Minneapolis campus, and a fresco portrait of Guy and his wife, Barbara, hangs in the atrium of Terrence Murphy Hall. He passed away in 2016, preceding his wife by three years.
Guy and Barbara Schoenecker’s legacy will also live on through the Schoenecker Center, St. Thomas‘ planned STEAM complex that will open in 2024. The Schoenecker Center continues a long tradition of impact made possible by the Schoeneckers Foundation. The family name is also on meeting spaces at the new Iversen Center for Faith, and the basketball and volleyball courts at the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.
“Guy was one of our most distinguished alumni,” President Julie Sullivan said. “He believed passionately in the value of a St. Thomas education because of his experiences here as a student, and he wanted to see others get the same opportunity that he had as a young man.”
St. Thomas conferred a Doctor of Laws degree on Schoenecker in 2000. He also received a St. Thomas Aquinas Medallion from the School of Law in 2009, the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993 and the John F. Cade Award for entrepreneurship achievement in 1991.
“Guy was one of the most conscientious people I have known in my life,” said Father Dennis Dease, who was president of St. Thomas from 1991-2013. “He got his start here at St. Thomas and he got his inspiration here, and he wanted to make a St. Thomas education possible for future generations.” In fact, five of his seven children received St. Thomas degrees.
His legacy of philanthropic impact and wise counsel continues at St. Thomas through his son Larry, president of the Schoeneckers Foundation, and daughter Lisa Anderson, a member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees.