Minot State announces $1 million leadership gift

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University announced a $1 million gift from Roger and Ann Looyenga to broaden the University’s academic offerings in the area of leadership.

“Roger and Ann are passionate about the area of leadership and they are committed to ensuring current and future Minot State students have educational opportunities in this important area. The new leadership initiatives we will be establishing, thanks to the incredible generosity and vision of Roger and Ann, will be a tremendous benefit for our students. The Looyengas are great friends of MSU, and we are excited about the positive impact this gift will have on our students,” said Minot State President Dr. Steven Shirley.

The Roger and Ann Looyenga Leadership Center will develop leadership courses at Minot State and will offer a Leadership Certificate (nine total credits) or a Leadership Concentration (12 total credits).

In 2010, the Looyengas presented an initial gift to establish the Roger Looyenga Leadership College of Business Endowment to begin a program in business leadership, an overlooked area in higher education. Subsequent gifts to MSU by the Looyengas have grown the Endowment to nearly $500,000.

“I became particularly interested in leadership when I saw how just one person could influence the outcome of an organization — either positively or negatively,” Roger Looyenga said. “That organization, as an example, could be a sales territory, company, sports team, or even a country. We all have the ability to be leaders, however leadership skills need to be developed and honed. Ann and I are supporting the initiative at Minot State University because students can develop these skills earlier in their life and career.”

Since the initial gift, the Minot State University Roger Looyenga Leadership Program has helped create growth opportunities for students to develop in four major areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

A Mandan native, Roger graduated from then Minot State College with a bachelor’s degree in business education in 1968. While at Minot State, he participated in tennis, intramural wrestling, and intramural football, and was elected to the Student Council, the predecessor of today’s Student Government Association. He belonged to the Letterman’s Club, Greek Council, and was president of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity.

Following graduation from Minot State, Roger enjoyed a nearly 40-year career with Auto-Owners Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 company, working his way up through a variety of positions, ultimately becoming CEO in 2004 and Chairman of the Board in 2006. He retired from the CEO position in 2008 and as Chairman of the Board in 2009.

Roger has written three books, “Take the Stairs,” “100 Years of Service and Success,” and “Something Said.” The Looyengas have two grown sons, and divide their time between homes in Michigan and Arizona.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 11/20/19   

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