Siena Heights News

SHU Announces the Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, PhD Scholarship Endowed by Trish and Dan Bell

Siena Heights University recently announced that Miami-area philanthropists, and honorary Siena Heights alumni Trish and Dan Bell have gifted the university more than $1 million to create the Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, PhD Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship honors the late Adrian Dominican Sister who was a 1958 Siena Heights graduate and a close personal friend of the Bells. Sister Jeanne championed human rights and social justice issues as president of Barry University for more than two decades. She passed away in June 2019. The scholarship will be awarded to female students who exhibit a commitment to community service and also display a financial need.Trish and Dan Bell

“We are genuinely thrilled to honor one of our dearest and most respected friends, Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, in this way,” said Trish and Dan Bell. “Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin was one of the most remarkable women we have ever known, and we know how pleased she would be with these scholarship opportunities for young women who might not otherwise be able to pursue a college education, particularly in such a strong faith-based learning environment as Siena Heights. Without question, Sister Jeanne’s boundless joy, her never-ending enthusiasm and her unwavering love for all mankind were only exceeded by her infinite faith and her profound belief in the value of education. We hope the recipients of these scholarships will grow to emulate some of Sister Jeanne’s many wonderful qualities in their future lives.”

“I can’t thank Trish and Dan enough for their generosity to the university,” said SHU President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD. “What a blessing this scholarship will be for our future students. And to honor Sister Jeanne in this way was heartfelt and touching. We have been very blessed to have generous gifts of more than $1 million throughout our history, but this is only the second endowed scholarship gift we’ve received exceeding $1 million.”

In addition to the $1 million estate gift, the Bells have also committed to a $50,000 per year gift that will go towards funding the scholarship.

“We have such wonderful friends in Trish and Dan, and they have been so generous to Siena through the years,” said SHU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Dan Pena. “We worked together over the last year to identify the best way possible to honor Sister Jeanne. This gift provides a means for supporting our female students, especially those who are driven to make an impact on society and serve others. Trish and Dan have ensured Sister Jeanne’s legacy will live on permanently, and will empower Siena women to change the world.”

The Bells have been involved in for more than 30 years in pursuing their mutual passion to enhance their community, primarily focusing on providing opportunities to improve the lives of the underserved, including the homeless. The husband-and-wife team serve on many foundation and non-profit boards, including Branches, a multi-site, non-profit organization supporting underserved children and their families with an array of holistic programs. Branches currently serves more than 400 K-12 students daily.

The Bells are also long-time strong supporters of Miami’s national model for effective care and mentorship of the homeless, Chapman Partnership, where Trish has served the organization in executive roles for more than 12 years, and is now its Chair Emeritus.  Chapman Partnership offers a comprehensive, holistic approach through on-site services and partnerships to help homeless residents attain self-sufficiency and housing stability.  It has admitted more than 120,000 men, women and children to two centers since inception.

SHU awarded the Bells honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters in 2018 for their contributions to society.

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