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.’”


2023 recipient

Hannah Hunter

Natalie Brehm

Natalie is the 2023 Pat Johnson recipient and the 12th student to be honored with the Pat Johnson Award.

She plans to attend St. Ambrose University to study nursing / pre-med.

2022 recipient

Hannah Hunter

Hannah Hunter

Hannah is the 2022 Pat Johnson recipient and the 11th student to be honored with the Pat Johnson Award.

Hannah plans to attend Concordia University to get her degree in biology.  Her long-term plans are to attend graduate school to be a Physician’s Assistant.

2021 recipient

Kylie Karst

Kylie Karst

Kylie is the 2021 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attends North Dakota State University and is pursuing a degree in engineering.

2020 recipient

Lillijuana Schneider

Lillijuana Schneider

Lillijuana is the 2020 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attends the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and is pursuing a degree in political science. Longer term her goal is to attend law school and become an attorney so she can assist victims of domestic violence.

2019 recipient

Kaylee Athey photo

Erin Jackson

Erin is the 2019 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attends Iowa State University and is studying environmental science. Afterward, she plans to attend law school and practice law in the environmental arena. Her hope is to make our planet better for the future. Erin was very active in high school in both fine arts and athletics.  She also generously gives her time volunteering and works as a camp counselor.

2018 recipient

20180 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Kaylee Athey

Kaylee Athey

Kaylee is the 2018 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She studied biology at South Dakota State University and has a desire to begin a pre-med track. She participated in basketball, band, choir, track, WE club and student council. She also participated from a young age in 4H; eventually rising to 4H Federation President. She maintained a very high GPA in high school and graduated first in her class. She spent time in Haiti on a mission trip helping to fix buildings and run a mobile medical clinic. Her teachers describe her as being gifted with outstanding leadership.

2017 recipient

2017 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Hunter Bagwell photo

Hunter Bagwell

Hunter is the 2017 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attended Arkansas State University and pursued a degree in nursing. She was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in several school clubs, played softball, spent her time mentoring first graders and volunteered in her community. After graduation she hopes to become a trauma nurse in order to fulfill her passion to help others.

2016 recipient

2016 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Sara Hain

Sara Hain

Sara is the 2016 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attended Stevens Institute of Technology to study business/technology. In high school she participated in several extra-curricular activities including DECA Business Club and band. She was team captain for both volleyball and basketball. Sara is attending a rigorous 5-year program within which she will receive both her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in business and technology. She looks forward to the opportunity to sharing her innovative ideas in the business world.

2015 recipient

2015 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Hannah Schacherl

Hannah Schacherl

Hannah is the 2015 Pat Johnson Award recipient. She attended the University of MN – Twin Cities to study Political Science and plans to attend law school. In high school Hannah participated in band and drum line. She was the Editor in Chief for Index Newspaper, Spanish Club President and a member of O’Neil National Honor Society. Hannah also was involved in playing basketball and participated on her high school swim team. She volunteers in numerous activities including Special Olympics, Salvation Army and as a Sunday school teacher. She hopes to earn her law degree and work for a non-profit or the United Nations.

2014 recipient

2014 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Cason Cleveland

Cason Cleveland

Cason is the 2014 Pat Johnson Award recipient. In high school, Cason was an athlete and achieved outstanding academic performance. He pursued a degree in biology with hopes of eventually becoming a neurosurgeon. When a family member passed away from a brain tumor it provided Cason with inspiration to enter the medical field in order to help others.

“The financial assistance the Foundation’s generosity has granted me will have a huge impact in assisting the funding of my education. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal. Your kind consideration and confidence shown in me inspires me to continue to “pay it forward” by helping others and giving back to the community. I hope and anticipate one day being able to support students to achieve their goals just as you are doing for me today.” ~ Cason

2013 recipient

2013 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Travis Wehrenberg

Travis Wehrenberg

Travis is the 2013 Pat Johnson Award recipient. His ambition is to become a physician. He started this education at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and transferred to complete a degree in the field of medicine.

“I appreciate the award, as it will help me to achieve the goals I have set for myself in higher education.”  ~ Travis

2012 recipient

2012 Pat Johnson Honorary Scholarship recipient Samantha Stauffer

Samantha Stauffer

Samantha is a 2012 SFM Foundation Scholarship recipient and the first ever to be honored with the Pat Johnson Award. She attended South Dakota State University, studying commercial design.

Samantha and her mother attended the 2012 Golfing for Scholarships event and shared their infectious smiles and can-do attitudes with the SFM Foundation donors.

“I will never forget it was your kindheartedness and help that got me through my financial setbacks.”  ~ Samantha

Row of scholarship recipient photos

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