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The University of Minnesota Duluth
BRIDGE - Fall 2008, Volume 26, #1
Progress Review: The Reaching Higher Initiative Moves Forward and Support for UMD Grows
For over 50 years, UMD has received students from all around the globe, growing to its present enrollment of more than 200 international students from 40 different countries.
Bruce ’53 and LeAne ’59,’66 Rutherford, who recently established a scholarship fund, have an in-depth knowledge of the hardships international students face when they decide to attend a university in another country. In 1958, Bruce began as a counselor in the Student Affairs Counseling Office and later became the international student advisor at UMD. In 1980, when he took on the role of advisor, the university had fewer than 70 international students. When Bruce left, the number had grown to nearly 175 students.
LeAne, too, taught writing and other classes to international students. She has a special knack for teaching English as a Second Language. “I have a great tolerance for extra ‘esses,’ and I truly enjoy it,” she said.
During his years as an international advisor, Bruce learned to expect the unexpected. In the 1980s, UMD earned the reputation of being supportive to Malaysian students, so dozens applied and were accepted. They appreciated UMD because, unlike many other schools, they weren’t required to eat in the residence halls. They were Muslim, with strict dietary needs and cooking their own meals was important. One day Bruce found himself driving students to a nearby farm to purchase chickens butchered in accordance with their dietary standards. “We ended up filling that small black Volkswagen with chickens,” said Bruce.
“How many people can you fit in a phone booth?” LeAne asked.
“When they returned, Bruce got out of the car followed by a student
with a chicken, and then another student with two chickens, and then yet
During this period, the Malaysian government sent a delegation to Duluth. “We wanted to make them comfortable,” Bruce said. “We found out that meant, among other things, arranging for flags to be attached to the front bumpers of their motorcade.”
After years of helping international students and their families, Bruce and LeAne have found a new way to provide support. They awarded the first student scholarship from the Rutherford International Fund this spring. The scholarship is the only one of its kind at UMD and answers a real need. “We remember students who weren’t able to get funds from banks at home,” LeAne said.
LeAne and Bruce value the richness international students bring to UMD, and they are excited to make financial help available to them. By supporting students from other countries, they are providing a resource for all UMD students. Most of all, they are helping international students to achieve their dreams.
ROTC Scholarship: Supporting Students Who Have
It started as a discussion among two long-time friends, former UMD classmates, Robert “Bob” Harder ’66 and Matt Liiste ’67. They were reminiscing about their student time with UMD’s Detachment 420 AFROTC and how they were not only proud of receiving Air Force commissions and their subsequent military service to the country, they were also really appreciative of how much the cadet experience had enriched their personal lives. Then they heard about the Reaching Higher Scholarship Initiative Program at UMD. An idea was born: If they could establish a new scholarship endowment with a minimum of $10,000 of gifts, the annual scholarship distribution would be matched by UMD, basically doubling the impact of their gifts.
The two decided they couldn’t pass up this opportunity. They began
working with Lt. Col. Al Chromy and Tricia Bunten, UMD Development Director,
on a plan to solicit their friends and former classmates to make the scholarship
happen. A year later, the two friends are thrilled by the results; nearly
$20,000 in gifts and pledges have been made by 42 former ROTC cadets and
friends of the Corps. The 26 scholarship “founders” have contributed
$500 or more. “We know there are dedicated people out there who
want to serve but are strapped financially,” said Matt. “This
scholarship is for them.” Bob and Matt invite anyone to contribute
to the new scholarship.
Bob and Matt are quick to point out that while they “got the ball rolling,” there are many people who should get credit for this grass roots effort. “We were amazed at the willingness of folks to get on board,” said Bob, “to do something extra during this time of national peril. The program virtually sold itself.”
John Dettmann Scholarship
Three of the original members of the UMD Accounting Club: Dave Goldberg ’57, Claude Lutzka ’57, and Fred Burnes ’57, created a scholarship campaign in honor of the man who helped establish the first accounting program at the university.
Professor John A. Dettmann served the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) Department of Accounting for 38 years and was a major contributor in the development of new accounting courses and programs designed to stimulate student interest in the field. Now, a scholarship in his name will assist students in attending LSBE.
“Our goal is to raise $200,000 to establish the Dettmann Scholarship,” said Goldberg. “And as part of the matching payouts of the UMD Reaching Higher Scholarship Initiative, a fund of that size would allow us to distribute $18,000 a year–every year–to deserving students. That’s a great tribute to a great professor.”
Luella Dettmann, John Dettmann’s widow, was thrilled to receive the news. “John was a great man, and he was loved by his students. I can’t think of a better way to help his memory live on. This is a wonderful gift.”
A Family Affair of Giving: A Rehearsal Room,
This UMD story began in the early 1910s when Brenda Singer immigrated to America at the age of eight. Harold Singer, her son, recalled, “She had to learn a new culture, language and way of life. She graduated with honors from Duluth Central High and received a scholarship to Hamline University… but because of the need of her family, was unable to further her formal education… My mother was a student all her life and the immense knowledge she possessed was an inspiration to her children.”
She was an inspiration to others as well. Brenda and her husband, Samuel, began a scholarship program at UMD in 1979. That scholarship awarded one or two scholarships each year. It was only fitting that after their mother’s death in 2000, Brenda’s children named the Weber Music Hall Rehearsal Room in her honor. It is now the Brenda and Samuel Singer Rehearsal Room.
Brenda’s legacy hasn’t stopped. Her children and grandchildren have been encouraged by her example to provide continuing support for the visiting artist performance series in the Weber Music Hall.
Each year, one or more seats in the Weber are named by another member of Brenda’s family, in the “Buy A Seat” program. Harold thinks his family’s involvement with UMD is a fitting tribute, “Our mother’s influence was made evident in the fact that all of her children graduated from college. She also inspired in each of us the importance of assisting others in furthering their goals in life.”
The legacy continues. Almost a century after arriving in America, Brenda Singer’s influence is evidenced by a lasting tribute.
Eric K. Clarke, Jr. Scholarship:
Throughout his life, Eric K. Clarke had a passion for the outdoors. Living in the northland most of his life, he loved to canoe, explore the woods, and snowshoe. Education and knowledge were very important to him. After high school, he began college at the University of Minnesota Forestry School. His summers during college were spent working outdoors, including a job working for the Minnesota Forest Service at Isle Royale.
Clarke had four daughters, all of whom were raised to be strong and independent. He encouraged them to go after their dreams. One of them, Diana Clarke-Carter decided to continue her father’s legacy by establishing a scholarship in his memory at UMD. Because education and knowledge were very important to him, this scholarship is an appropriate way to honor and remember him. The Eric Clarke Scholarships are for currently enrolled students in good standing, who are employed by the Facilities Management department.
To be considered for this scholarship, the student employee must be nominated by a Facilities Management non-student employee. Facilities Management employees look forward each year to nominating a student employee that they have come to know and appreciate because the scholarship honors the work and students that were so important to Eric during his 15 years working for UMD’s Plant Services Department, now called UMD Facilities Management.
Even today, there are threads of Eric’s efforts woven throughout the campus landscape. UMD has dedicated a quiet retreat, only steps away from the library, as the Eric Clarke Pond, in appreciation for Eric’s dedication to the campus.
The Eric K. Clarke, Jr. Memorial Scholarship is designed to carry Eric’s
memory forward, working to give students an opportunity to educate themselves.
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