The Ripple Effect
Judith “Judi” Gorman Krieger ’63 lived a life of compassion and concern for the suffering of others. Much like a dropped stone creates a ripple in a still pond, her good work and kindness has created and furthered opportunity for those in need. Almost two decades after her death, the Judith Gorman Krieger Scholarship is her legacy, recognizing a senior student who demonstrates generosity and empathy beyond her years with financial support.
Gorman Krieger was a St. Paul resident, a mother of five and a nurse with a law degree. “My mom went to law school at 45 because she wanted another way to help people,” says Jill Richardson, one of her children. “She worked on a project that focused on women’s issues, especially domestic abuse and poverty, directed by the first woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Rosalie Wahl.” But what she really loved was nursing, “especially home care nursing,” adds Jacki Schrab, her other daughter. “It was important to her to see her patients in their homes, to interact with them and to allow them their dignity.”
When Gorman Krieger died in 1998, she left an indescribable hole in many hearts. One was in that of her good friend Lois Rogers ’63.
“Judi was an extremely humble person,” says Rogers. “Her story is a story of selfless giving. She quietly opened her heart and home to those in need, and routinely gave of herself to others. We created this scholarship as a way for us, her friends and classmates, to honor Judi’s memory and perpetuate her example of compassion for others.”
The young woman honoring her memory this year — and expanding the radius of the ripple — is Ardo Jimale ’16. How this sociology major readily carves out hours for strangers in spite of her own adversities, though, is remarkable.
Jimale was born into poverty and civil war in Somalia. A 13-year-old maternal aunt who fed, clothed and protected her was her “everything,” she notes. When life in the eastern African country went from bad to unbearable, they fled. Home became a series of refugee camps until they were welcomed into the United States in 2005.
The 11-year-old Jimale had lacked educational opportunities and was hungry to learn. She quickly blossomed at a charter school in Minneapolis. “I didn’t know any English, but I picked it up right away,” says Jimale, who also speaks and writes Somali, Swahili and Hindi.
St. Catherine University caught her attention in her junior year of high school. “The dream of college was far from my mind, until I visited St. Kate’s,” she says. “I liked the focus on social justice and women’s leadership, and I felt that this was a place I could have a family and community.”
By the time she enrolled, Jimale was on her own. Her aunt and sole guardian had passed away. Jimale took on three jobs just to cover tuition and living expenses. In her little spare time, she helped her new immigrant and refugee neighbors adjust to life in a new culture.
With the Krieger Scholarship, gone are Jimale’s days of juggling work and school. Today, she spends more time volunteering in her neighborhood. Jimale keeps a special eye on the mothers and young women, helping them apply for jobs or enroll in English classes, translating medical visits and food labels, and tutoring their children.
“My mom always spoke highly of St. Kate’s and the women behind it,” says Richardson. “This scholarship allows our family to meet some of these wonderful women. Each year when we present the award, we learn of some unexpected connection between the students and my mom.”
With Jimale, the connection was themes of loss and survival, and helping women improve their lives. “If I can help make someone’s life better or more comfortable, why wouldn’t I help?” remarks Jimale, who plans to go to law school and work in foreign policy. “My aunt used to tell me that the only valuable thing every human has is his or her time, and that it’s up to me how I choose to spend that time.”
Like the woman whose name her scholarship bears, Jimale will change the lives of those around her, expanding the circumference of compassion ever wider.
Photo: Rebecca Zenefski by Rebecca Studios
CHANGE A LIFE TODAY
To start a student scholarship or fund an existing one, call the Office of Development: 651.690.6737