December 22, 2012


In November of last year, Mayville State received a gift of $1,000,000. Designated for the purpose of providing student scholarships, the gift is the largest single monetary charitable contribution ever received by Mayville State University. The donor of the gift has chosen to remain anonymous.

The million-dollar donation was used to establish the Nelson Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. Each year, a percentage of the endowed fund is used to provide scholarships that help non-traditional students achieve their goals. The first scholarship allotment of more than $40,000 was awarded to students for the 2012-2013 academic year. The scholarship is geared especially toward those individuals who may be changing their paths in life or those pursuing changes in careers. A special emphasis of the scholarship is to promote the concept of volunteerism, leadership development, and out-of-classroom experiences for the scholarship recipients.

Recipients of this year's scholarships are James Coran, Mayville, N.D.; Toby Handly, Hatton, N.D.; Courtney Hendrickson, Williston, N.D.; Jeffrey Jones, Langdon, N.D.; Tina Nygard, Mayville, N.D.; Tania Olson, Page, N.D.; Adam Petkau, Morden, Manitoba; and Jeff Ringstad, Cooperstown, N.D.

Adam Petkau relayed his message of gratitude at the recent Honor Society Recognition Dinner. Adam is a second-year student at Mayville State, and is pursuing a major in physical education teaching. He had attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg for a couple of years, just after completing high school, but was unable to finish his degree there due to financial constraints.

After leaving the University of Manitoba, Adam was married to Jayda Zacharias, and they settled down in Morden, where Jayda was employed as a nurse. She became ill two and a half years ago and has not been able to work. As Adam put it, "This was both a curse and a blessing." While he certainly wouldn't wish for his wife to be ill, this circumstance caused them to re-evaluate and look at a new path in life.

Petkau had always hoped that he'd be able to get back to college and finish his degree, but he wasn't interested in going back to a place like his previous college where he was merely a number. With large classes and little personal attention, he could have earned an entire college degree without a single professor knowing his name, he said.

He wanted a smaller school, and knew of Mayville State University because he has two sisters-in-law who attended college at Mayville. He started asking around and heard more and more good things at Mayville State. When he arrived on campus for a visit and saw the digital bulletin board welcoming Adam Petkau to campus, he knew Mayville State was the place for him.

Adam and Jayda moved to Mayville where Adam is pursuing his degree. They love to take part in the sporting events and student activities, as well as the community activities. Adam is impressed with Mayville State's dedication to students, evidenced by things such as free tutoring and accessibility to accommodating faculty members and administrators.

After the first year of school at Mayville State passed, Adam and Jayda had to seriously consider whether they'd be able to afford to have Adam continue with his schooling. Scholarships made that possible. Thanks to the funding he's receiving from the Nelson Family Scholarship Endowment, Adam's dream of earning a college degree will come true. According to Adam, "This gift is providing an exciting outlook on the future, which might not otherwise have been possible." He and Jayda will never forget the generosity of the scholarship donor.

Nelson Family Endowed Scholarship is intended for non-traditional aged students, 25 years of age and older. The recipients must be full time, degree seeking students who are pursuing courses in residence at the Mayville State campus. Eligible students must demonstrate a need for funds as evidenced by information submitted through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The scholarship may be awarded to those in pursuit of associate's or bachelor's degrees. Preference is given to females, but both males and females are considered. The scholarship is renewable to students who maintain a 2.0 grade point average or greater. With each term, there is an expectation of improvement.

During this season of gift-giving, it seems that we all are in search of the perfect gift. It seems that Mayville State's historic million-dollar gift has made that mark. Through the donor's generosity, lives are being changed for the better.

To find out how you could change lives through your gift to Mayville State University, contact Director of Development John J. Klocke at 701-788-4787 or North Dakota residents can make their gifts to a permanent endowment and qualify for a 40% North Dakota tax credit, as well as a federal tax deduction on gifts of $5,000 or more. Gifts must be made by December 31, 2012. All donors can make tax-free distributions from IRAs for this type of gift. Contact Klocke to learn more.