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SMC gift planning welcomes new director

Kaitlyn Rabach | Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saint Mary’s has named 1998 graduate Jennifer Winnett Denniston as its new director of gift planning, according to a College press release.

Denniston returned to her alma mater for the sense of community she remembers on the campus.

“There is something intangible about Saint Mary’s,” Denniston said. “No words can truly describe this sisterhood. I am very blessed to be back and to be working with alumnae from across the country on setting up trusts for the College.”

Denniston majored in mass communications and political science at the College. After a few years working in the financial industry, she attended Indiana Maurer School of Law. Denniston also has a master’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University.

In this position, Denniston will be responsible for soliciting financial gifts from alumnae. These gifts are usually in the form of a trust and are given to the College over time.

“When I was in private practice, I actually wrote these trusts for my clients,” Denniston said. “This background has really helped my transition into this new position.”

Denniston succeeds former director of gift planning Jo Ann MacKenzie, who retired earlier this fall after 24 years of service to the College.

“I was able to work with Jo Ann for a couple of months,” Denniston said. “She also graduated from the College and we were able to travel together to meet with other alumnae from across the country. She really set me up for success in this position.”

Denniston credited much of her success to her Saint Mary’s education.

“Saint Mary’s helped me understand that I am truly capable of anything I put my mind to,” Denniston said. “This new understanding allowed me to take risks and jump on new opportunities as they came to me. Law school was a risk, but Saint Mary’s taught me if I could find a way to get there I could handle it. I thought the same thing when I took this job opportunity and moved my family from Indianapolis to South Bend.”

A former resident of Le Mans Hall, Denniston said she is happy to be back in a familiar setting.

“I love Saint Mary’s College,” Denniston said. “Our students are so involved with the world around them. I am always hearing of the different projects and activities they are involved in. I truly enjoy this type of work and I am thankful I can do the work I love for a college with a good cause. This job allows me to help more young women pursue some of the same educational opportunities that I did.”

Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]