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SLU School of Nursing Receives $8.4 Million Gift

Saint Louis University School of Nursing has received the largest gift in its history – an $8.4 million bequest from the estate of alumna Mary K. Hoppe. 

The gift also is among the largest received by Saint Louis University.

Teri Murray, Ph.D., is dean of Saint Louis University School of Nursing.

"I was delighted to receive this gift,” said Teri Murray, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing.

"The endowed scholarship has been designated as a financial need-based scholarship, and I can envision how this award will help many students complete the nursing education program with little to no educational debt. The Hoppes’ generosity in providing educational assistance for students will live eternally through the lives of the scholarship recipients and the countless numbers of patients each student touches." 

A national leader in nursing education since its founding in 1928, the School of Nursing provides bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate and doctoral programs. It seeks to fulfill its mission of education and leadership in the development of nursing as a discipline and profession through teaching, research, practice and service in ways consistent with the Catholic, Jesuit values of the University.

"A degree from Saint Louis University transforms lives, preparing students not only to do well in the world, but to do good,said SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. 

"Scholarships remain a top philanthropic priority at Saint Louis University, and through the extraordinary generosity of alumni like Mrs. Hoppe, bright young people will have access to the rigorous, character-building educational experience that our Jesuit university is uniquely positioned to offer. This posthumous gift will benefit students for generations to come. It is greatly appreciated." 

Both Mrs. and Dr. Hoppe were 1951 graduates from Saint Louis University; she from the School of Nursing and he from the School of Medicine. After graduation, the couple married and returned to Houston, their hometown; they had no children. Dr. Hoppe died in 2002, and Mrs. Hoppe eventually moved to Charlotte, N.C., to live with her niece. She died in July 2017.

"Mary Katherine Hoppe clearly had a dream in mind when she designated this truly life-changing bequest," said Mary Smiley Johnston, Mrs. Hoppe’s niece.

"Her favorite song was Somewhere Over the Rainbow, an iconic song of hopes realized and dreams come true. May this gift to the Saint Louis University School of Nursing be that realized hope and that dream come true for the future nurses studying there."

The school plans to honor Dr. and Mrs. Hoppe at its 90th anniversary celebration this fall.

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place. For more information, visit