St. Louis U. High impresses upon its students to go forth into the world and give back to their community. Some choose to do that by volunteering time; many make charitable contributions; and others provide counsel and intellectual capital. Michael Soehngen ’67 has done this all at SLUH—and he intends to complete his legacy by making a final gift through a bequest.
Soehngen returned home to St. Louis in 2007 after a successful career in Chicago with CNA Financial Corporation, where he was head of marketing communications for CNA Commercial Insurance during his final years.
Being back in St. Louis, Soehngen decided that he could finally do more than just support SLUH financially—he could also contribute the knowledge and experience he gained and the success he achieved during his career at CNA to help deliver excellence at SLUH.
Whether volunteering his time to help with alumni reunions each year, as well as his own Class of ’67 50th Reunion in 2017 and his 55th this year, being a member of the Alumni Board or a member of the SLUH Communications Advisory Board, Soehngen always says “yes” with his time.
“Michael is extraordinarily generous with his time and expertise,” says Ben DuMont ’92, Director of Communications. “The past several years, he has helped us deliver excellence by leveraging his corporate experience to help with development of our school communications strategy and brand maintenance. He has dedicated hundreds of hours to help us reinvent, compile and release the timely communication ParentConnect, which is distributed to SLUH parents each week.”
Soehngen, a recipient of the Fr. John J. Divine, SJ Alumni Service Award, shares that the satisfaction he feels as a result his ongoing involvement with SLUH communications, branding and marketing far exceeds the amount of time he invests. In fact, he believes he gains much more personally than what he feels he contributes.
Even though he continues to support SLUH financially throughout each year, he also supports the annual CASHBAH auction, as well as St. Louis U. High Day in support of Scholarship at SLUH each November.
Additionally, over the last five years Soehngen applied his communications experience to his class effort to create a fully endowed Class of 1967 Scholarship. And well before he returned to St. Louis in 2007, he had included SLUH in his estate plan.
Soehngen likes to cite a version of a Churchill quote that “money is only as good as you spread it around” and likes to add “so too intellectual capital.” He considers the two to be at the heart of his generosity with SLUH. He accords much of it to not only his parents, but also to his four years as a SLUH student and his ongoing relationship with Frs. Hagan and Bailey until they died.
“SLUH has been in my estate plan for over 20 years yet I am keeping SLUH in my present-day plan as well so that I positively impact our school both now and in the future.” Indeed, it is a unique and exceptional type of legacy—one that helps to ensure the continuum of SLUH excellence.