Alumna Leaves Nearly $1 Million to MHSA

After a life of service, Mary Santarsiero wanted to see her money put to good use. Xavier’s Master of Health Services Administration program is making sure that happens.

Santarsiero, a 1970 graduate of the MHSA program (then known as Hospital and Health Services Administration), died in 2011 at the age of 89 in Stratford, Conn. But her life of service wasn't quite finished. With her last wish, her estate went to three charities, including the MHSA program at Xavier. In all, her gift to the program totaled more than $900,000.

Sr. Nancy Linenkugel, director of the MHSA program, has earmarked the funding to support internships for smaller non-profit entities that would not have the ability to take on the full cost of an intern.

Mary Santarsiero, center, in white.

“Xavier is one of only seven elite MHSA programs in the country that still requires the third-year administrative residency in order to graduate,” Linenkugel said.

“Our residencies are year-long, paid experiences. Occasionally there is a health-care organization that would be a wonderful learning spot for our students but cannot afford the $42,000 or so annual residency stipend. Once we learned that alumna Mary Santarsiero had bequeathed a considerable amount to Xavier’s MHSA program, then-Dean (Mark) Meyers and I decided that a needed use for these monies was as a match for the residency stipend of just such an organization that couldn’t afford the entire amount.”

And the Santarsiero Residency was established.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Santarsiero worked for the Veterans Administration in Connecticut where she helped diagnose diseases. Then, when hospital administration opened for women, she went back to school, this time to Xavier for her master’s degree. After graduation, she worked at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center where she was able to see the entire industry change, incorporating more technology into its information systems.

She worked in seven different states, and ended her VA career at the national headquarters in Washington. After working for 25 years, she retired and enjoyed a life of traveling and visiting with friends.

In March, her scholarship was finalized. Now, because of her generosity, more students—and more health organizations—can enjoy the same Xavier experience.

“Having the Santarsiero Residency allows our Xavier MHSA students to serve and to learn in outstanding administrative residencies without concern for whether or not the location can afford the student’s residency stipend,” Linenkugel said.

CAPTION: Sr. Nancy Linenkugel points to a picture of the MHSA class of 1970, of which Mary Santarsiero was a graduate.