Tony Sanneh to receive Hendrickson Medal

Posted On: 2022-03-07

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota announced today that decorated professional soccer player and local nonprofit founder, Tony Sanneh, will receive the Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership. 

Sanneh, who was a member of the USA team at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and went on to found The Sanneh Foundation, will receive the award on April 7 at Saint Mary’s Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership Forum.

After playing professional soccer for nearly 15 years, Sanneh, a Saint Paul native, founded The Sanneh Foundation, an organization that serves the holistic youth development needs of the increasingly diverse state of Minnesota and seeks to unite communities by advancing diversity and equity. The organization’s signature program, “Dreamline,” is an academic intervention program serving low-income, under-performing students in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, North St. Paul, and Burnsville to increase academic performance, improve school connectedness, and to develop ethical leadership skills. 

The Sanneh Foundation has partnered with Saint Mary’s to establish the Teacher Pathway program to create a supportive, accessible way for Dreamline coaches to earn a college degree. This is not the first time Sanneh’s work has been recognized by the university, having received Saint Mary’s Community Advocate for Change Award in 2018.

“Through his work with The Sanneh Foundation, Mr. Sanneh demonstrates the character strengths of courage, compassion, justice, resilience, critical thinking, and generosity, and we are proud we are able to recognize that by awarding him with the Hendrickson Medal,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, Ph.D., senior vice president of university initiatives and special advisor to the president and Executive Director of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership.

Recipients of the Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership have made significant contributions to the Twin Cities community and exhibit ethical leadership that is globally oriented, innovative, and creative. Further, recipients advocate for engaged  citizenship that significantly improves the lives of others’ appreciation for diverse ideas and perspectives. Past medal recipients include Mary Jane Melendez of General Mills; Brad Hewitt of Thrivent Financial; Rhoda Olsen of Great Clips; Inge Thulin of 3M; and Mary Brainerd of HealthPartners. 

This year’s Hendrickson Forum will include the keynote address “What Capitalism Does To Us and For Us” by social psychologist, author, and educator Jonathan Haidt.

The Hendrickson Forum

Once a year, during the Hendrickson Forum, Saint Mary’s brings an internationally recognized speaker to its Twin Cities Campus to engage Saint Mary’s faculty, staff,  students and alums as well as the wider community in timely and important conversations.

This year’s event will be held Thursday, April 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with check-in and networking beginning at 11 a.m. at the Saint Mary’s University Center at 2540 Park Ave. in Minneapolis.  Advance registration is required. More information and online registration are available at