Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest recently recognized the University of St. Thomas as part of its Entrepreneur’s Circle, counting St. Thomas as one of the top 20 corporations that partner with the organization in terms of the number of volunteers and hours of service contributed in 2010-11.
But being honored in this way is nothing new – St. Thomas’ partnership with Junior Achievement has received numerous accolades over the years. It’s not surprising when you consider the numbers. In 2010-11, 51 St. Thomas volunteers taught 70 financial literacy classes, reaching more than 1,750 students with 10,500 hours of programming.
Business students first began volunteering six years ago, when there was a group of about 10 participating. That number has grown to an average of 75 over the past three years, thanks to the recruiting efforts of Opus College of Business undergraduate students.
According to Heather English, Opus College of Business, the partnership between the undergraduate business program at St. Thomas and Junior Achievement is unique. Most Junior Achievement volunteers come from the business community. “One of our students was named Volunteer Liaison of the Year – and that was up against business leaders whose full-time job is to lead the volunteer efforts within their company,” English said. Companies that typically associate with Junior Achievement include General Mills, Cargill, Best Buy, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy to name a few.
St. Thomas received the Entrepreneur’s Circle recognition at a recent reception at the University of Minnesota. Georgia Fisher, assistant dean of the Opus College of Business, was present to accept the award. She noted that there was a very "purple" crowd in attendance that day.
According to Fisher, “As I went up to receive the award, the emcee said that he was a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and asked if there were any other St. Thomas alumni in the room – more than half the room raised their hands! These are professionals, some teachers, but many who work in community engagement roles at some of Minnesota’s largest corporations.”
Fisher went on to note that Gina Blayney, Junior Achievement president, said that she was astounded, and that she had absolutely no idea the percentage was that high.
“This is what our grads do. It’s a nice affirmation of the positive St. Thomas presence in our communities,” Fisher said.
For more information about Junior Achievement or to volunteer, contact Heather English, (651) 962-5841.