Alumni Make $2.65 Million Gift to Support the College’s Counseling Center

The gift from Mark Henneman ’83 and Terri DeGiusti Henneman ’83 will fund current staffing and establish an endowment.
Posted on May 6th, 2020 by

Two alumni of Gustavus Adolphus College have made a $2.65 million gift to support the College’s Counseling Center. The gift from Mark Henneman and Terri DeGiusti Henneman of St. Paul, both members of the Class of 1983, will help fund current staffing and establish an endowment to ensure future services to students.

This major gift to the Counseling Center comes at a time when it is especially needed, says Dr. Hannah Godbout, director of the Gustavus Counseling Center. “Even before the pandemic, colleges and universities nationwide were recognizing that there was a mental health crisis presenting in the college-age population. Students were showing up at Counseling Centers in unprecedented numbers. On our campus, this grew to over 30 percent of the student body last academic year. College counseling centers are vital for the retention of these students, as well for their safety during their college years, especially in a rural community like ours with restricted access to mental health services off campus.”

The Counseling Center is an integral part of the Student Life Division at Gustavus. The Counseling Center offers individual therapy, support groups, and other resources to students. During this academic year, the center has had over 2,300 appointments with more than 600 students.

According to Godbout, students have continued to seek help after courses moved online this spring. “Our center has maintained consistent contact with students during the pandemic,” Godbout said. “We worked quickly to set up Telemental Health access and protocols, which we will use for the foreseeable future.” Godbout said that this major gift will provide immediate help to the center and its staff. “This gift allows us to continue to serve students, on or off campus, and to adapt as needed in the months to come with new technologies and programming.” The Hennemans are pleased that they can give to Gustavus in the current moment of uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

The couple’s gift to the Counseling Center follows the direction of their other philanthropic activities. They have supported organizations that help people overcome personal obstacles, such as the Union Gospel Mission in the Twin Cities, for which Mark has served as board president.

“We like to give to organizations that build bridges, organizations that tear down barriers standing in the way of people becoming their best selves,” explained Mark Henneman, who is Chairman and CEO of Mairs & Power. “With this opportunity to support the Counseling Center, we can be involved in something that helps take away barriers such as depression and anxiety, which can get in the way of students’ success.”

The Hennemans’ gift also comes from a sense of gratitude for the education they received. In her career as a nurse, Terri recognized that the Gustavus program’s emphasis on mind, body, and spirit was ahead of its time. Mark likewise saw a liberal arts education as an advantage in his field of investment and finance. “Most of the people in my field were educated out east at well-known schools. Having a different perspective has been incredibly valuable.”

Depression and anxiety have been issues of personal concern for the Hennemans. They are grateful for today’s greater awareness of mental health. “I have been really impressed with young people today,” Mark Henneman explained.  “There’s not the stigma of using services, as there was in the past. It’s just part of life. Counseling is something they’re seeking out, a way for them to have a better journey toward graduation. That’s something we want to help provide.”

Part of the Hennemans’ gift will meet immediate needs at the College, going toward both the Counseling Center and the Gustavus Fund. The bulk of the gift, $2.5 million, comes in a bequest to the Mark and Terri Henneman Counseling Center Endowment Fund.

They are also happy to support the College where they met. “Gustavus has such a special place in our hearts,” said Terri Henneman. “We’re so happy to give back to a place that means so much to us.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Victor Samelian says:

    Thank you for supporting student needs in this way. Good mental health is part of the integrative journey in life. These resources are a blessing! Peace