Friday, December 04, 2009

Saint Mary’s benefactor, alum William Hendrickson dies

WINONA, Minn. — William Hendrickson, 91, a 1939 Saint Mary’s University alumnus and founder of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership, died Friday, Dec. 4, in Naples, Fla.

Hendrickson was a native of Plainview, Minn., and director, chair and chairman emeritus of St. Jude Medical Inc. of St. Paul. He often said he was fortunate to work with and observe ethical leaders who recognized the importance of developing other leaders with high moral standards. He also observed the erosion of ethical leadership of some leaders in positions of authority. His desire to help reverse this trend led to his establishing scholarships, a speaker series founded on ethics, the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Saint Mary’s University, and the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership Forum.

“Bill Hendrickson said on more than one occasion that his objective was to do nothing less than change the world,” said Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s. “His generosity and vision touched the lives of hundreds of students through scholarship programs based upon good character. These students have gone on to become the change that Bill wanted to see in the world.”

In 1988, Bill and his wife, Jean, invited Saint Mary’s to partner with them to identify, encourage, nurture and develop creative, ethical and globally oriented leaders. The Hendricksons funded the first of Saint Mary’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholarships. These scholarships provide assistance to students who commit to a lifestyle of ethical behavior and good character. Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholars have provided society with well-rounded ethical leadership and, as graduates of Saint Mary’s, they are committed to playing a constructive role in creating an ethical society.

In 1994, the Hendricksons expanded their university scholarship program and established the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Saint Mary’s Winona campus. Over the years, the Institute has provided a variety of programming and training on ethical leadership, serving for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Bill and Jean Hendrickson furthered their commitment in 2003. Recognizing the need to nurture the development of young people of good character, they established the Tomorrow’s Leaders High School Scholarship Program. The scholarships provide incentives for Midwestern high school students to complete leadership and service projects within their schools and communities.

In 2007, the Hendrickson Institute was moved from Saint Mary’s Winona campus to its Twin Cities campus in order to expand programming to the Twin Cities community. Saint Mary’s University and the Hendrickson Institute established an annual speaker series, the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership Forum, and an annual award for ethical leadership.

A private family funeral is planned.

The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Hendrickson family.