Univ. of Minnesota Philosophy Receives $1.23 Million Donation

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota has received a $1.23 million donation from Stephen Setterberg. Dr. Setterberg is the president of PrairieCare, a mental health provider. He also majored in philosophy as an undergraduate at Minnesota before going to medical school there.

According to a news item at the department’s website,

Setterberg says that he “hopes that this gift will highlight the University of Minnesota’s commitment to philosophical inquiry as the bedrock of humanistic understanding,” as well as build an intellectual, scientific and creative environment that will have a significant positive impact on generations of students at the University of Minnesota…

As a leader in fostering the development of innovative systems of psychiatric healthcare, Dr. Setterberg credits his liberal arts education and, in particular, the critical, reflective and analytic skills he developed while majoring in philosophy with expanding the imaginative horizons of his personal and professional life.

Further details here and here.


The Hedgehog Review
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eddy Nahmias
Eddy Nahmias
7 years ago

Congrats to Valerie Tiberius and UM philosophy! Perhaps she can provide some advice here about how departments (or the relevant university offices) should approach potential donors to make such donations most likely?

Valerie Tiberius
7 years ago

I’m not sure I have very good advice, but I can say two things. First, having an active and skilled development office was absolutely essential in my case. My development office put my in touch with Dr. Setterberg, helped me convey departmental needs, and helped Stephen see how much his gift could mean.

Second, Stephen was obviously moved to give by his own experience and one of his teachers (Prof. John Dolan). But he was also moved by common intellectual interests in moral psychology, well-being research, and philosophy of science. I invited him to join my new Philosophy of Science Center Interest Group (The Social and Behavioral Sciences Interest Group — SoBIG) and he really enjoyed participating. It’s hard to draw general lessons from a single case, but I would suggest that (a) including interested alumni in the intellectual life of the department is a good idea, and (b) that highlighting the ways in which philosophy enriches other fields and contributes to our conversations about larger problems may be a good strategy. After all, most of our graduates who have the greatest capacity to give are now in other fields, and their philanthropic aims are toward making a difference to something they can see as valuable in a large and lasting way.