Giving back is something Dr. Condell always felt called to do

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Dr. Yvonne Condell

For Yvonne Condell, giving back is something she’s always felt called to do. It’s paying “civic rent” as she calls it, a way to make up for the resources she’s used along the way and to help out others as she has been helped. She has made a point to give back to many organizations over the years, but for her, Minnesota State University Moorhead holds a special place in her heart.

Continue reading Yvonne's story

Yvonne and her husband James came to the Fargo-Moorhead area over 60 years ago. They both became professors at MSUM – she in biology, and he in psychology. James retired in 1992 and passed away in 1998, and Yvonne retired in 1995. Though she did not grow up here, does not have family in the area, and had numerous opportunities to change jobs and move away, Yvonne chose to stay. She found a home at MSUM and loves the community in which she lives.

Since retirement, Yvonne has resided on a number of boards across the country. She lives by three principles of equity, fairness and justice, and tries to make an impact in any way she can. She also heads up the retired faculty group on the MSUM campus, which gets together for coffee and other social outings. “It’s an opportunity for us to get to know each other better and it permits us to continue the congeniality we expressed when we were faculty members,” she said.

With the cost of a college education today and rising number of student loans, Yvonne thinks it’s especially important to give money to scholarship funds. “The more financial help they can receive, the better off they will be,” she said. Because of this, Yvonne and her husband started The James and Yvonne Condell Scholarship in 1992. Each year, this endowed fund helps students with the cost of attending college and has a lasting impact on their future.

In addition to starting a scholarship, Yvonne is a member of the MSUM Alumni Foundation’s Legacy Society, having designated MSUM as a beneficiary in her estate plans. She wants to lead by example and hopes other faculty and staff will consider starting their own scholarship fund, estate gift, or donate in another way of their choosing. “I really encourage them to give whatever then can,” she said. “It’s important to make an effort to give back to the university that gave us so much.”

Bobbi (Jarvis) Mason

Elementary Education majors Bobbi (Jarvis) Mason and Greta (Magnuson) Shawstad met by chance at MSUM in the 1960s, but their friendship became anything but ordinary. Alphabetical seating charts forced them to sit by one another in many classes, which led to them studying together, and a friendship blossomed from there. The pair graduated from college and went their separate ways. 

Continue reading Bobbi's story

Bobbi married her husband, who was in the Air Force, and the couple lived all over the world. Greta, on the other hand, got married to her husband and stayed in Moorhead. Distance didn’t hinder their friendship though, as they exchanged letters and phone calls to stay in touch. “We got engaged around the same time, planned our weddings around the same time, and had kids around the same time,” Bobbi said. “All of the milestones in life, we did together.”

When Greta died suddenly in 2007, Bobbi was living in California. She wanted to travel there to say a final goodbye to her friend, but didn’t think it would be financially feasible. Instead, she pooled all the money she could and started a scholarship at MSUM in her friend’s name. Teachers Greta had worked with during her career took up a grief offering and others also donated money to the fund, which became the Greta (Magnuson) Shawstad Memorial Endowed Scholarship. “The goal was to honor Greta and to turn a negative into a positive. I can’t bring her back, but I can honor her,” Bobbi said.

Bobbi encourages others to think about starting scholarships, and believes anyone is capable of giving back. Recently, she and her husband became members of the MSUM Alumni Foundation’s Legacy Society by agreeing to provide a future gift, as designated in their wills. For her, giving back is something that has been instilled in her from her father, who was a local businessman and very active member of the community. His motto was, “Do not expect to get anything out of your community unless you contribute to it,” and Bobbi hopes she is doing her father proud. “This scholarship was built from a dollar here and a dollar there,” she said. “You don’t have to be rich. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Rodney Paseka 

As a Georgetown, Minn., native, Rodney Paseka was a self-described free-range town kid who attended a two-room schoolhouse with six classmates. From grades 7 through 12, he was bussed to Moorhead High School. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Continue reading Rodney's story

 After returning home, Paseka became the first member of his family to attend college and enrolled at MSUM on the GI Bill. During his time in school, he worked 30 hours a week to provide for his wife and child, but he also considered school his job, a responsibility he did not take lightly.

Taking the advice of a friend, he decided to earn degrees in both accounting and business administration in 1971.

Using the skills he learned and honed at MSUM in his professional journey, first as a sales manager in 1978 at Hebron Brick, he soon progressed into his current role as CEO and sole owner of the successful company.

Under Paseka’s leadership, Hebron Brick emerged as a nimble and specialized player in a market of competitors with massive resources. In addition to introducing robotics to the manufacturing plant, he directed efforts toward providing architectural products for commercial projects and developing new product lines to grow the business.

His commitment to quality and adaptability has secured the future of this 111-year-old company, which in its history has survived bankruptcy, fire, two world wars and the Great Depression. Today, Hebron Brick thrives—with 80 percent of its brick distributed to 40 states and Canada and with retail centers in Fargo, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Paseka considers himself an extremely fortunate person. As one of the first MSUM phonathon callers, he was involved in raising money for scholarships since the ‘70s. That dedication to help fellow and future students at MSUM has continued to be a prominent mission for Paseka.

In 2015, he gave a major gift of $5 million to fund business school scholarships, resulting in the renaming of the business college to the Paseka School of Business.

 In addition to keeping students out of debt, one of Paseka’s goals with this donation was to inspire other MSUM alums to “pay it forward” by creating scholarships.


Lois Cornell Selberg

Lois Cornell Selberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State Teacher’s College and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1961, she joined Moorhead State University, first in the English Department and later as an Assistant to the Academic Vice President.

Continue reading Lois's story

During her thirty-year career, Lois was tirelessly and passionately focused on improving students’ lives. She led the groundbreaking Project E-Quality program to welcome students of color to the university. She initiated a Student Advisor Program to help students navigate the challenges of college. She spearheaded the university’s long-standing annual Fourth of July community celebration. She established two endowed scholarships that have helped hundreds of students pursue their passion to study at MSUM.

Lois was well known for her amazing creativity and remarkable talent for bringing people together to create something wonderful out of a mere idea.

May her fiery spirit and impassioned focus inspire all of us.

Mona Tedford Rindy

Mona Tedford Rindy (’87) has fond memories of attending Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her time here included great professors, a supportive community and friends that would last a lifetime. Being a member of the Delta Zeta sorority helped her transition into college life and meet some great people along the way. “Some of those women are still my closest friends today,” she said.

Continue reading Mona's story

Because of her great experience at MSUM, Mona wanted to make a gift that would live on long after she was gone. She decided to give a future gift through her estate plan, designating MSUM as a beneficiary of her retirement account. This was her favored way to give, because it ensured neither party would ever have to pay taxes on it. “Making a future gift makes me feel warm, to think there will be something that happens when I’m gone,” she said. “By making this gift, there’s a little string that will always keep me attached.” She also knows the impact will be great to the students attending MSUM. “Because I gained so much, it’s only right to give back. There’s going to be a Mona, someone like me, in the future that will benefit from this gift,” she said.

While she admits thinking about making an estate gift can be a little intimidating, Mona encourages people to plan ahead and give where they feel compelled to. Beginning a conversation about the future is the first step of the process. “Just don’t be scared of the numbers,” she said. “When you really think about it, especially if it’s a planned future gift, you can afford to give much more than you thought you could.”



John and Sharon Haugo

Haugo and his wife Sharon have donated to multiple areas at MSUM over the years and are Legacy Society members, believing that those who have been blessed should contribute and help the less fortunate.

Continue reading John and Sharon's story

Six miles west of Waubon, Minnesota, John Haugo, a shy farm boy, attended a one-room schoolhouse before going to town school in fifth grade. The second oldest child out of nine, Haugo had many responsibilities on the farm and in his family. In high school, he was already becoming a well-rounded individual. The captain of the football team, a district champion in track, and a football player, Haugo was heavily involved in sports, but he somehow found time to participate in class plays, band and serve as the president of student council.

Throughout his time at MSUM, Haugo demonstrated grit and worked diligently to pay for college. During the school year, he washed dishes in the cafeteria and was a dorm resident assistant. A double major in math and physical science, he was successful academically, in his fraternity, football and track, and was the editor of The Dragon and the president of the dorm council.
After graduating from MSUM in 1957, Haugo went on to earn his master of arts and his Ph. D. in educational administration and quantitative methods from the University of Minnesota. Haugo taught math and coached football at Parkers Prairie and Park Rapids High Schools, both in Minnesota. Following his time teaching, he was CEO of the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation [MECC], the statewide educational computing services organization. For 25 years before his retirement in 2008, he served as CEO of several successful Minneapolis-based healthcare software companies.
Haugo has also been active in community and church activities, serving on several councils and boards over the years. He also served as a director for the MSUM Alumni Foundation Board. He is currently on the board of directors for Luther Seminary in St. Paul and Norway House, a Norwegian Heritage Center, in Minneapolis.
Haugo is one of two alumni who have been inducted into the Dragon Athletics Hall of Fame and received the MSUM Distinguished Alumni award.

Haugo and his wife Sharon have donated to multiple areas at MSUM over the years and are Legacy Society members, believing that those who have been blessed should contribute and help the less fortunate.



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Jared Miller

Jared Miller

Managing Director for Principal and Major Gifts

This information is not intended as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For assistance in planning your gift(s), please consult a lawyer and/or financial advisor for professional advice.