Thank You for the Incredible Generosity!

Dr. Steven W. Shirley
President, Minot State University
Published May 2, 2020 in the Minot Daily News

When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading and it became apparent that students at Minot State University would have to complete the Spring 2020 academic semester at a distance and online, one of the first issues that surfaced was the unexpected financial burden faced by many of our students. In university settings, we know historically one of the major reasons why students may not persist to graduation is due to unanticipated financial challenges. Therefore, MSU has tried to ensure none of our students will stop their education as a result of unforeseen expenses from COVID-19.

Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of MSU alumna Mary Quandt, a Student Emergency Fund was established through the MSU Foundation several years ago. The purpose of the Fund is to assist students dealing with short-term and unexpected financial challenges. The new financial burdens of the past six weeks certainly are appropriate for exactly the purpose of this Emergency Fund. Ms. Quandt, along with alum Bob Skabo and his wife JoAnn, as well as the MSU Foundation provided additional matching dollars to replenish the Emergency Fund. MSU subsequently made an appeal for individuals to support the Fund, and MSU alumni, friends, and supporters stepped up in a big way!

Over the course of the past several weeks, nearly $34,000 has been raised through the generosity of approximately 160 donors. These funds, when supported by the aforementioned matching dollars, have allowed MSU to assist 140 students with over $60,000 so far. Students submitted an application explaining their situation; in reviewing the rationale for their needs, in many cases students requested resources to make a rent or other monthly payment, purchase technology to complete the semester online, or travel home. Whatever the case, it is clear many of these needs stemmed from students and/or their family members losing jobs and having their primary sources of income temporarily disrupted or eliminated altogether. These funds allocated to students do not have to be paid back. Obviously, this one-time grant may not be a permanent cure to the existing financial challenges, but hopefully it has bought some time and allowed students and their families some additional relief as they sort through current budget difficulties.

We talk frequently about MSU being a family, and that extends beyond the campus, our employees, and our students. The family also broadly encompasses MSU alumni, friends, and supporters. This most recent outpouring of support for students clearly shows the MSU Family is alive and well, and their generosity is thriving in these uncertain times. For that, I offer my sincerest THANKS to everyone who has supported our MSU students during these recent weeks!

Take care, stay safe, and best wishes as we continue moving through the next phase of this pandemic.

As always…..Go Beavers!