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MSU Development Foundation announces completion of successful capital campaign

In 2009, the Minot State University Development Foundation embarked on “Our Place, Our Time,” a $26 million capital campaign to raise significant funds to support students, university programs and facilities. The campaign concluded Dec. 31, 2016, exceeding its goal, raising $31.2 million from alumni and friends of the university, making it the most ambitious and successful fundraising campaign in Minot State history.

“The successful completion of this campaign is truly a remarkable feat thanks to the MSU alumni, friends, and supporters, who have contributed their time, talent, and treasure. This effort has further strengthened MSU’s ability to educate current and future students alike,” said Dr. Steven Shirley, Minot State president, who is pictured. “It is a great day for the entire MSU community, and we are excited for a bright future. Thank you to all who have made this day possible!”

The campaign consisted of five initiatives: scholarships, academic programs, academic facilities, athletics and the annual fund. Within the $4.9 million scholarship initiative, 100 new endowments were created, and 127 existing scholarship endowments increased in size.

The academic programs initiative’s success was due in part to the establishment of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy. The historic gift to MSU’s College of Business from alumnus Clint Severson and Conni Ahart provides unique opportunities for students to become innovative entrepreneurs through hands-on business development, planning, research and real-life experience. Also contributing to the initiative’s fulfillment was alumnus Roger Looyenga’s gift, which launched the Roger Looyenga Leadership Development Program. The program focuses on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Additionally, the nursing program received gifts allowing for expansion through scholarships, professional development and state-of-the art-equipment.

Within the $2.5 million academic facilities initiative, the Northwest Art Center will soon relocate to renovated space in the Gordon B. Olson Library’s lower level and will provide premier space for educational programs that benefit the university and will serve as a regional art center for northwest North Dakota. The center will also host touring exhibits, preserve artifacts, permanently house MSU’s art collections and showcase the works of nationally recognized artist Walter Piehl, MSU art professor. Additionally, other upgrades occurred across campus, including new teleconference suites, Summer Theatre seats, classroom renovations and other technological enhancements.

The NCAA Division II move, a bold endeavor, ushered in a new era for Beaver athletic programs. Consequently, athletic facility upgrades were necessary to advance MSU athletic programs’ level of competitive excellence for student-athletes. Improvements, financed by the $8 million athletic facilities initiative, included a new Herb Parker Stadium press box with a concessions area, office and meeting space, suites and seating, a seasonal dome and electronic videoboards for Herb Parker Stadium and the MSU Dome.

An additional $1.3 million was raised through the annual fund to support the highest priorities of the university.

“The attainment of $31.2 million, surpassing the campaign’s original goal, is a testament to exceptional leadership by the campaign chairs, dedication of staff members and devotion by donors who made it happen,” said Rick Hedberg, vice president for advancement. “MSU is an extraordinary community of extraordinary people. I would especially like to thank Marv Semrau, past vice president for advancement. Marv showed outstanding leadership and dedication throughout this entire campaign.”

A major contributing factor to the campaign’s success was Minot State’s opportunity to utilize the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Grant Fund, which was supported by the N.D. Legislature to advance academics at the state’s institutions of higher education. The program awarded nearly $3.1 million in matching funds to Minot State University. It allowed for $1 of matching funds for $2 privately raised by North Dakota university and college foundations.

Campaign chairs were Orlin Backes ’58, Ted Brinkman ’75, Karen Krebsbach ’62, David Reiten, Maynard Sandberg ’55, Clint Severson ’73 and Conni Ahart and Doris Slaaten ’49. Campaign gifts encompassed cash, bequests and pledges. For questions, contact Hedberg at


Published: 04/27/17

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