MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 6, 2014 

Million-dollar gift continues to change lives


In November of 2011, 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 in the 2012-13 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 the 2014-2015 scholarships are Jacob Allam, Mayville; Tina Nygard, Park River, N.D.; Angelina Rieli, Hope, N.D.; Rhonda Hodges, Mayville; and Chrystal Nelson, Fargo, N.D.

Chrystal Nelson will complete her second full year at Mayville State at the end of the spring semester of 2015. She will complete her course of studies during the fall semester of 2015 and will have earned a double major in history and English education. She plans to take her degree and travel the world as a teacher.

In order to fulfill the requirements of a grant she’s received, she knows her first job will take her to a low income, high needs area within the United States. She’s hoping to be able to teach in the inner-city schools of Washington, D.C., or a place further south. After fulfilling the grant requirements, she hopes to teach for the Department of Defense and travel the world.

Chrystal is making the most of her Mayville State experience, and in addition to pursuing her educational goals, she’s involved in Cometeers, Mayville State’s student volunteer organization. She’s also a tutor and a writing center consultant.

Nelson says the best part about Mayville State is the quality friendships she’s formed. She says she has a small group of friends, but these are friends she will keep until the end. “Mayville State provides an atmosphere that nurtures quality friendships such as these,” she said.

Outside of school and working, Chrystal loves to read. In September, she ended a nine and a half year association with the North Dakota Air National Guard. She also holds two associate’s degrees, one in culinary science, with emphasis on baking and pastry, and another degree in emergency management.

Chrystal appreciates the opportunity for scholarships that has been given to her as a Mayville State student. Having received great scholarship support has allowed her to turn down some loans this semester. “Knowing my debt will be limited is of great relief for me, and I am grateful to the scholarship donors for their generosity which is allowing me to pursue my dreams,” said Chrystal.

The 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 MSU Foundation Executive Director 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. In addition, “The Matching Fund for Enhanced Academics,” an amazing program created by the 63rd North Dakota Legislative Assembly will provide a 50% match for each and every gift designated for scholarships through the Mayville State University Foundation until December 31, 2014. Every dollar given will receive a 50% match. Contributors can also make a pledge of up to seven years and have the entire pledge amount matched. Contact Klocke to learn more.