Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship

Each year, an outstanding applicant is selected for a special scholarship named for SFM Foundation board member and former SFM CEO Pat Johnson

The award

In 2012, the SFM Foundation Board of Directors created a special scholarship category, to be presented to one outstanding new applicant. This scholarship bears the name of Pat Johnson, business pioneer and former leader of SFM.

The Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship awarded by the SFM Foundation recognizes the personal and institutional values of this eminent leader who has made a difference in the lives of so many.

About Pat Johnson

Former SFM President and CEO Pat Johnson left legacies of innovation and creative spirit at Minnesota’s largest workers’ compensation insurer. She also left a legacy of respect for people. It completed her vision for serving injured workers and their families, some left in desperate need. Now retired, Johnson continues to serve in many capacities to reach out to those in need.

Having begun her career in private practice at a large Minneapolis law firm, Johnson went on to become legal counsel for the Minnesota Senate. She came to SFM in 1985, helping organize SFM’s in-house law firm, then Johnson, Lynn & Associates. As President and CEO, 1992 to 2007, Johnson led the company on to many achievements, among them–

  • Evolving industry-leading approaches to preventing injuries and controlling costs.
  • Championing high quality medical care at reasonable cost.
  • Retiring start-up and additional capital loans 15 years early while growing the company and its financial strength.
  • Extending SFM’s coverage and services to Wisconsin employers, a first step in SFM becoming a leading regional workers’ compensation insurer.
  • Delivering service excellence, as demonstrated by SFM’s continued recognition among Minnesota regulators as No. 1 in prompt first response to work injuries among large insurers.
  • Reorganizing the SFM enterprise into specialized business units to better serve the needs of employers and their employees.

In addition to her accomplishments as a business leader, Pat’s own story of beating the odds gives her a personal bond with scholarship recipients. At last year’s award banquet, Pat shared advice and encouragement to the scholarship recipients that was drawn from her own family’s experience in overcoming adversity. Her own father was severely injured on the job at a time when she and her four siblings were all nearing college age.

“Every one of us went to college, and that made all the difference,” she said. “It’s fun to help others have those possibilities, and I always say to the scholarship recipients, ‘I’ll be looking for you in about 15-20 years because I’d like you to help create some more possibilities.’”


2024 recipient

Clara Holden

Clara Holden

Cooper is the Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient for 2024.

She plans to attend the University of Minnesota Morris to study biology / nursing.

Past recipients

2021 SFM-employee sponsored aware recipient Alisyn Rathcke

Natalie Brehm


Hannah Hunter

Hannah Hunter


Kylie Karst

Kylie Karst


2020 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Lillijuana Schneider

Lillijuana Schneider


2019 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Erin Jackson

Erin Jackson


20180 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Kaylee Athey

Kaylee Athey


2017 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Hunter Bagwell photo

Hunter Bagwell


2016 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Sara Hain

Sara Hain


2015 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Hannah Schacherl

Hannah Schacherl


2014 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Cason Cleveland

Cason Cleveland


2013 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Travis Wehrenberg

Travis Wehrenberg


2012 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Samantha Stauffer

Samantha Stauffer


Row of scholarship recipient photos

Help more exceptional students in need

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