To live in two worlds
"There is a world of thanks in my life of 90 years. Living in two worlds - one of thanks and the other of giving - and finding the road from one to the other has been quite a journey.
"Receiving a scholarship in 1935 to the College of Saint Benedict allowed me to go to school in the depression years and gave me the idea of setting up a scholarship for diverse students 30 years ago. Saint Ben's was the first private college in Minnesota to accept students of color. That occurred because some of our students spent a summer in New York working at the Dorothy Day Center. During their experiences, they met some gifted students who were later invited to attend Saint Ben's in 1937.
"My life was dedicated to bringing education to hundreds of students, including tidings given to my grandchildren, so they would get advanced education and be inspired to share their talents with others.
"When I attend the Celebration of Donors and Students event at Saint Ben's in the fall, I'm filled with memories as I attend mass and dinner. This year to my surprise, I was seated at one of the front tables.
"Jackie Murillo was our student speaker. She told about her mother bringing her family of four to the U.S. from Costa Rica. They were poor, but Jackie managed to get a great education. She applied to Saint Ben's and received the Kathryn O'Rourke Brinkman Scholarship, so she could continue her education.
"Big tears of joy flooded my face as I had come full circle - the receiver and now the giver."
- Kathryn O'Rourke Brinkman '39
Kay passed away peacefully August 27, 2010, surrounded by family and friends. Her legacy lives on through the vision and work of the students and alumnae who received her scholarships. We will miss her.