Alumnus gives $1 million to U’s Crookston campus

by Dylan Thomas

The largest-ever gift to the University’s Crookston campus was a way for its donor to give back to the area in which he was raised.

Lyle Kasprick and his wife Kathleen designated their $1 million gift for academic scholarships in hopes of giving more students a chance to attend UMC.

The Kaspricks’ gift contributes to a record fund-raising year for UMC, which has raised $1.6 million for the 2002 fiscal year.

“It’s the largest donation we’ve received, and then having it for student scholarships is extremely important,” said UMC Chancellor Don Sargeant.

The gift also counts toward the larger Campaign Minnesota fund-raising effort, now in its final year. The University’s system-wide campaign surpassed its $1.3 billion goal in May but will continue until June, said Martha Douglas, communications director for the University Foundation. The campaign had raised $1.36 billion as of July 30.

The total gifts and pledges given to UMC alone now total more than $6.4 million, surpassing the school’s $5 million fund-raising goal, Douglas said.

Kasprick said the Crookston campus was the “natural choice” for the donation. He grew up in the area’s farming community and attended the Northwest School of Agriculture, which later became UMC.

Kasprick’s family farm was located near Angus, approximately 20 miles from the UMC campus. He still has family members who live near the school – one of his
brothers is a monk at nearby St. John’s Abbey. Another owns a farm in the area.

After graduating from the agriculture school in 1950, Kasprick attended the University of North Dakota in nearby Grand Forks. Kasprick, who lives in Orono, Minn., became a private investor after working as a public accountant.

The gift is not the Kaspricks’ first donation to UMC – they previously set up an endowment for students who were descendents of NWSA graduates. After a few years, they broadened the endowment to encompass all UMC students.

Kasprick said the University designated his past gifts to places it deemed fit. Discouraged by the merging athletics departments at the Twin Cities campus and money used to fund University sports, he decided to limit this gift to academic scholarships.

“The athletics are so hopeless to me,” Kasprick said. “It’s so out of balance to all the other parts of the University, and the University is so much more important than the athletics.”

Sargeant said the local impact of the Kasprick family stretches beyond its recent gift.

“This is a family that goes back to the ’30s and ’40s,” Sargeant said. “Even though UMC draws students from a very much larger area, it is a way to keep this region as an important part of the history of the family.”


Dylan Thomas welcomes comments at [email protected]