Wellness Center at U of M Crookston Receives $1 million Gift Naming Entrance/Lobby in Memory of Mitch Nielson

By Elizabeth Tollefson on September 22, 2014 8:04 AM

The University of Minnesota Crookston announced a $1 million gift to name the entrance/lobby of the new campus wellness facility, which will begin construction next year. The gift, from Les and June Nielsen, will name the area in memory of their son, Mitch Lien Nielsen. The announcement was made on Monday, September 22, 2014, at a press conference followed by a ceremonial groundbreaking for the wellness center.

Les Nielsen graduated in 1958 from the Northwest School of Agriculture, a residential high school located on what is now the University of Minnesota Crookston. He went on to earn a degree in business from the University of Minnesota. In 1968, the Nielsens along with long time friend, Gene Ellingson, started Herc-U-Lift Incorporated, a forklift truck and material handling equipment distributorship. Les served as the company’s president for thirty-six years, and June worked alongside her husband in the business. Les remains as the company’s chief executive officer.

“The Nielsen family has always placed a high priority on education,” says Fred Wood, chancellor of the U of M Crookston. “They are incredibly grateful for what the University of Minnesota has done for them, and in turn, have established scholarships to benefit students at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

“This most recent gift demonstrates once again the Nielsen’s appreciation for the University and their wish to support the Crookston campus,” Wood continues. “They are making a difference in the lives of our students today and tomorrow.”

Background

Les Nielsen was raised near Euclid, Minn., in a home where reading and studying were encouraged. The Northwest School of Agriculture, established as part of the land grant mission of the University of Minnesota, offered rural Minnesota students a residential, agricultural high school designed to meet the needs of the region.

Along with Les, three of his brothers attended the Northwest School of Agriculture, and three of them went on to the University of Minnesota: Andrew graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Richard earned a degree in business and worked for the Internal Revenue Service spending years in management. Les also earned a degree in business from the U of M.

The Nielsens have established two scholarships in memory of their son, Mitch Lien Nielsen, who was taken from them in 1989 in a motorcycle accident.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus–as well as 13 degrees online–in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  ”Small Campus. Big Degree.”  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

 

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U of M Crookston Celebrates New Wellness Center With Ceremonial Groundbreaking Monday, September 22, 2014

By Elizabeth Tollefson on September 22, 2014 8:04 AM

A ceremonial ground breaking for a new wellness center at the University of Minnesota Crookston took place on Monday, September 22, 2014. The day began with an announcement of a $1 million gift for the wellness center project by Les and June Nielsen and names the lobby of the building in memory of their son, Mitch Lien Nielsen.

Guests for the ceremony included University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, members of the U of M Board of Regents Clyde Allen and Thomas Devine, and several members of the Minnesota Legislature. Construction of the facility will begin next year with anticipated completion in 2016.

“This project is a testament to the ‘can do’ collaborative partnerships that are a hallmark of this remarkable region, community, and campus,” said Fred Wood, chancellor of the U of M Crookston. “The Wellness Center will assist with student success by helping us recruit, retain, and graduate our students. It will strengthen our academic mission and teach our students to be well-rounded individuals.”

The wellness facility will be transformational for the campus as well as an asset for the community. When completed, the new wellness center will be approximately 36,000 square feet featuring a two-court recreational gymnasium space, workout and fitness spaces, locker rooms, public spaces, a classroom, and a multipurpose room.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the 2014 Legislative Bonding Bill last May. The bill included state funding for several projects for the University of Minnesota system, one of which was a $10 million allocation for a Wellness Center at the Crookston campus.  An additional $5 million will be raised for the project through philanthropic efforts.

Background

The UMC Sports Center was originally built in 1930 when the campus was a residential high school. It was significantly updated only once–in 1980 when Lysaker Gymnasium was added along with some additional office space and training rooms. The central core of the facility, Knutson Gymnasium, is more than 80 years old and houses the current fitness and exercise area.

The Sports Center is shared by varsity athletics, intramural sports, and the student body. Because of the need for student-athletes to use the facility for conditioning, practice and training, it is overcrowded and virtually inaccessible to most other students. In addition to overcrowding and age, the inadequate size of the UMC Sports Center has meant limited space for equipment–there are only 15 cardio machines and a small weight room for a campus population of roughly 1000.

Winters, especially those like this past year’s severely cold and long winter, make it difficult if not impossible for students to exercise outdoors for much of the academic year, and the need is great for students to have access to healthy recreation year-round.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus–as well as 13 degrees online–in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  ”Small Campus. Big Degree.”  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

 

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Ceremonial Ground Breaking for New Wellness Center at U of M Crookston on Monday, September 22, 2014, with U of M President Eric Kaler

A ceremonial ground breaking for a new wellness center will take place on Monday, September 22, 2014, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The ceremony, which begins at 12:15 p.m., will be held on the site of the new wellness center just west of the Sports Center. All are welcome and parking is available in Lot G near the Kiehle Building on campus.

Prior to the ground breaking there will be a major gift announcement for the project by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations. The announcement will take place in the Prairie Room, Sargeant Student Center at 11:30 a.m.

Guests for the ceremony include University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, along with several members of the U of M Board of Regents and the Minnesota Legislature.

When completed, the new wellness center will be approximately 36,000 square feet featuring a two-court recreational gymnasium space, workout and fitness spaces, locker rooms, public spaces, a classroom, and a multipurpose room.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the 2014 Legislative Bonding Bill last May. The bill included state funding for several projects for the University of Minnesota system, one of which was a $10 million allocation for a Wellness Center at the Crookston campus. An additional $5 million will be raised for the project through philanthropic efforts.

Background

Originally built in 1930 when the campus was a residential high school, the current recreational facility, the UMC Sports Center, has been significantly updated only once–in 1980 when Lysaker Gymnasium was added along with some additional office space and training rooms. The central core of the facility, Knutson Gymnasium, is more than 80 years old and houses the current fitness and exercise area.

The Sports Center is shared by varsity athletics, intramural sports, and the student body. Because of the need for student-athletes to use the facility for conditioning, practice and training, it is overcrowded and virtually inaccessible to most other students.

Studies indicate that college wellness facilities have a positive impact on successful student persistence, grade point average, and graduation rates. These studies also show that habits related to wellness directly impact lifelong health and are connected to a stronger workforce. In addition, the Wellness Center will help enhance academic programs such as UMC’s sport and recreation management, and develop new opportunities to meet workforce needs for training in the areas of health and wellness.

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Award Winning Musician Mike Farris to Perform at the U of M Crookston on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, at 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium

Award-winning musician Mike Farris will perform at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Farris, whose diverse music rooted in early American gospel and blues, will perform on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, in Kiehle Auditorium at 7 p.m. The concert, which is part of Recovery Month, is free and all are welcome.

Farris has performed with the who’s who of American music legends including Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Dave Matthew’s Band, Sheryl Crow, and Bob Dylan. He won an Americana Music Award for New/Emerging Artist in 2008 followed by a Dove Award in 2010. With a personal history that includes alcohol and drug addiction, Farris’ music celebrates his freedom from chemicals and his faith in God.

He is set to release his newest studio album, Shine for All the People, on September 16, 2014. This upcoming album pushes beyond Salvation in Lights in that it reveals hope not in any glory to come, but in the failures and suffering of the present.

He said in a recent interview, “I was a destructive person. I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, so being where I am now and being able to share this spiritual music, this great musical heritage from America, and being part of a healing force is great.”

It was in 2005 that Mike Farris cracked open the hallway door when, for the first time since the age of 15, he was clean and sober. Recording what would become the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights (2007). He played the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s 16th Annual American Music Masters concert honoring Aretha Franklin, then TEDx Nashville, and then to the inaugural Austin City Limits Hall of Fame with Double Trouble.

Last year, he travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark and in an interview there he talked about the diverse music genres that have influenced his style and he cited African American spiritual music as the foundation of his music. To learn more about Farris and his music, visit mikefarrismusic.com.

Recovery Month is a national observance each September that spreads the positive message that chemical dependency treatment is effective and people can and do recover. Events will be held across the country throughout the month.

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U of M Crookston Holds on to Top Spot in U.S. News Best Colleges rankings in category Midwest Top Public Regional Colleges

Marks Second Consecutive Year at Number One and Seventeenth in Top Four

For the second year in a row, the University of Minnesota Crookston ranks number one in U.S. News Best Colleges rankings in the category Midwest Top Public Regional Colleges. The ranking is the 17th consecutive year that Crookston campus has appeared in the top four. The exclusive rankings, available at usnews.com on Tues., September 9 will be published in the September issue of U.S. News & World Report, available on newsstands on Tuesday, September 23.

U of M Crookston Chancellor Fred Wood is pleased the campus held on to the top spot in the rankings. “Much of the recognition this campus has received over the years is the result of a highly dedicated faculty and staff,” said Wood. “What sets our campus apart from others is that we provide students with an atmosphere that is remarkably supportive and personal, where learning is hands-on and where faculty and staff not only know students’ names but also their strengths and interests.”

“Our students recognize the value of earning a highly recognized and respected University of Minnesota degree while studying at the University of Minnesota Crookston in an environment that gives them opportunities for learning, leadership, and a chance to develop skills that will prepare them for the workplace or graduate school. We are truly the small campus with the big degree.”

The U.S. News ranking system uses quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality. Schools are categorized by their mission, which is derived from the breakdown of types of higher education institutions developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of teaching. The key measures of quality include graduation and retention rates; assessment of excellence; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; graduation rate performance, which is the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates; and alumni giving. Scores for each measure are weighted to arrive at a final overall score.

Other colleges ranked in the top four Midwest Top Public Regional Colleges include Valley City State University at number two, Northern State University at number three, followed by Dickinson State University at number four with Bismarck State College and Lake Superior State University tied at number five. The category focuses on undergraduate education with fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. There were 364 colleges ranked in four regions–North, South, Midwest, and West–in the Regional Colleges category.

To view the rankings, visit http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/regional-colleges/top-public.

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Banned Books Week September 22-27, 2014, at the U of M Crookston

Celebrating the freedom to read will be the focus during Banned Books Week at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Beginning on Monday, September 22 and running through Saturday, September 27, the week will include public readings, a panel discussion and open forum, along with displays and more. Activities are free and everyone is welcome

Public readings from banned books will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 23 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Prairie Room, Sargeant Student Center. There will several readings each hour. Many of the readers will be faculty or staff and readers will select their own reading. Each reading will be introduced, placed into context, and after the reading, there will be a few minutes for questions or comments.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, a panel discussion will be held with faculty panelists from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Prairie Room. The panel is organized by Karen Miller, who teaches in the Liberal Arts and Education Department.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, public readings will take place again from 10 a.m. to noon in the Prairie Room. Chancellor Wood is scheduled to read along with staff members from the Lake Agassiz Public Library in Crookston will be reading as well.

During the week, the Library at the U of M Crookston will have a display of banned books from its collections. The week is sponsored by the Academic Success Center on the Crookston campus.

Background on Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. To learn more, visit www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek.

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Greenhouse Gas Research Takes to the Golf Course and the U of M Crookston Athletic Field

Greenhouse gas research is a focus of Assistant Professor Katy Nannenga, who teaches environmental science at the University of Minnesota Crookston. In area fields, her work has gone on for almost a decade. Recently, however, the environmental science research has expanded into turfgrasses. There are two locations that are part of this study: the U of M Crookston football practice field and Lincoln Park golf course in Grand Forks, N.D.

Nannenga, along with Assistant Professor Kristie Walker, who teaches in the area of golf and turf management, have taken the research to an area golf course thanks to the connection Walker has to U of M Crookston alumnus Aaron Motl ’06. Motl is the assistant superintendent of Lincoln Park Golf Course and has allowed Nannenga and Walker to conduct research this summer and last with the help of several undergraduates Amber Suchy, a senior majoring in biology from Vining, Minn.; Wade Wallace, a senior majoring in environmental science from Euclid, Minn.; Michael Laurich, a junior majoring in biology from Lansing, Ill.; Nate Harthoorn, a junior majoring in natural resources from Reasnor, Iowa; and alumna Missy Geiszler ’14, Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from Mayer, Minn.

At the golf course, there are three different areas that are part of the research project: the green, dry rough, and wet rough. Each week, samples are taken from these areas using collection chambers that are capped. The samples are taken through the caps using a syringe. Students take samples immediately after the chamber is set into the turf, and in two twenty-minute intervals following. Samples are transported back to the laboratory on campus for analysis.

Nannenga and Walker presented some of their findings in July 2014 in Osnabrueck, Germany, at the conference of the European Turfgrass Society. As part of this conference, they also published a peer-reviewed article in the European Journal of Turfgrass Science.

As the research continues through October, the data will be compiled and statistically analyzed to determine possible implications for the environment. Specifically, how cultural turfgrass management strategies on athletic fields and golf courses effect the environment. One of the unique aspects of the research using an athletic field and golf course in the study is the quality and canopy greenness measurements of the turf. Current findings indicate water is a huge factor in greenhouse gas emissions, thus Nannenga and Walker are proposing a new project to evaluate water use in golf course management—a factor that has not been a part of the earlier studies conducted in small grain and sugar beets.

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U of M Crookston Sponsors F-M RedHawks Game at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo on Wednesday, August 6

Summertime means time for baseball and the University of Minnesota Crookston will sponsor the FM RedHawks game on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. The RedHawks will face the Witchita Wingnuts at 7:02 p.m. on Newman Outdoor Field, 1515 15th Ave., Fargo, N.D. Tickets may be purchased online.

Alumnus Carl Melbye ’77 will throw out the opening pitch. An alumni social will be held prior to the game from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Labby’s Grill and Bar, 1100 19th Ave N, Fargo, N.D. All UM Crookston alumni are encouraged to attend the game and stop by the alumni table on the concourse.

U of M Crookston night at the RedHawks is sponsored by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations. For more information, contact Garret Kollin in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations at 218-281-8436.

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Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies at the U of M Crookston Seeks Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Interested in Potential Project Partnership

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can receive valuable assistance through an opportunity offered by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES) at the University of Minnesota Crookston. CRES is seeking regional entrepreneurs and small business owners interested in forming a unique partnership that would include valuable consulting services by U of M Crookston students under the guidance of qualified faculty at no cost.

Each semester, both spring and fall, CRES integrates projects into courses offered on campus. These projects become an integral part of the course curriculum and are designed to benefit small business owners and entrepreneurs while providing students with real-world business experiences.
Applications for the program are accepted anytime; however, priority is given to applications received prior to the due dates. The 2014 fall semester application deadline is Friday, August 18 and the spring semester application deadline is Friday, December 5, 2014. Interested entrepreneurs can apply for this program at www.umccres.org/apply.

All applications are screened by CRES and the projects that best fit the mission of CRES and enhance the learner outcomes for the course will be contacted for a follow-up meeting to determine guidelines, client expectations, and to review other relevant information regarding participation.

For more information about the opportunity, contact Rachel Lundbohm, director of CRES at 218-281-8190 (rlundboh@umn.edu) or visit the CRES Web site at www.umccres.org.

Background
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies assists entrepreneurs in Northwestern Minnesota with the development and creation of their entrepreneurial enterprise. The services offered are based on the client’s needs.

The mission of CRES is to encourage entrepreneurship through educational leadership, applied research, and insightful consulting. It engages the students, faculty, and research facilities of the University of Minnesota Crookston in order to stimulate the entrepreneurial culture and strengthen the economic vitality of northwest Minnesota.

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Ken Broin Scholarship Established at U of M Crookston by Frank W. Veden Charitable Trust to Benefit Students in Business

Ken Broin

The Frank W. Veden Charitable Trust has made a $100,000 contribution to the University of Minnesota Crookston. The gift, given in memory of the late Ken Broin, who served as its lead trustee for more than a decade, will benefit students in business on the Crookston campus through the establishment of the Ken Broin Scholarship.

Broin had a heart for the U of M Crookston serving for 40 years on the UMC All College Advisory Board. “Ken loved the Crookston campus and education. He would be so very proud of this memorial in his honor knowing the investment will support students with scholarships for generations” says Harriet “Hank” Broin. “It’s been a privilege to work with the Veden Trust to create the Ken Broin Scholarship to support students in the areas of business, finance, and entrepreneurship.”

Broin served in the army and was stationed in London during WWII. After the war, he graduated from the University of Minnesota and began a 57-year career with US Bank. In 2008, he was presented with the University of Minnesota Regent’s Award for his four decades of service to the University of Minnesota Crookston. In 1975, he was recognized with the U of M Crookston’s Torch & Shield Award, the highest honor an individual can receive from the campus.

“Ken Broin had such a passion for education, and under his guidance, the Veden Trust has helped countless numbers of students,” says Corby Kemmer, director of Development & Alumni Relations on the Crookston campus. “Establishment of the Ken Broin Scholarship continues his great legacy and reflects his passion and desire to help students achieve.”

U of M Crookston Chancellor Fred Wood agrees. “It was a great honor to meet with Ken to discuss the Veden Trust last year,” Wood says. “ Ken was an outstanding steward of the Trust and cared deeply about the campus. We are very thankful for his support of the campus over the years and also by Hank’s generous efforts to help establish this wonderful legacy in his name.”

About Dr. Frank W. Veden
Dr. Veden graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and later the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He was dedicated to his profession, serving in the Fergus Falls area for 54 years. Dr. Veden was an officer in the U.S. Army and active in the American Legion, VFW, Masons, and the Episcopal Church. He was also committed to the advancement of rural Minnesota.

The Dr. Frank W. Veden Charitable Trust has been one of the largest financial contributors to scholarships at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Ken Broin was introduced to Dr. Veden when he was a junior officer at the bank. Through that contact, there developed a friendship and trust that continued until Dr. Veden’s death in 1996. Broin passed away in May 2013.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus–as well as 13 degrees online–in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

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