Overflowing with support

UND donors use Giving Hearts Day to pump up more than a dozen major student scholarships

Jace Dukart, DeAnna Carlson Zink and Shelby Stoltz

UND Alumni Association & Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink (middle) presents Jace Dukart (left) and Shelby Stoltz (right) with their Giving Hearts Day scholarship checks, made possible by donor gifts and a match from Dakota Medical Foundation. Image courtesy of Sam Melquist/UND Alumni Association & Foundation.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, UND accounting senior Jace Dukart was soaking up business knowledge in his Strategic Management class when he was distracted by his jingling phone.

Like a good student, he declined the call, but was puzzled by the 777 prefix.

“I knew it was a UND number, but I didn’t know who was calling me,” said the Dickinson, N.D. native. “So I punched it into Google, and it said it was the CEO of the UND Alumni Association. I was like, ‘No way.’”

It was a $5,000 scholarship calling.

Dukart was one of several UND scholarship recipients announced on Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hour online marathon of regional giving to more than 400 local charities and organizations.

Within this Feb. 8 philanthropy blitz, a first-time partnership between the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (AA&F) and Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) supported a scholarship drive in which enrolled and incoming UND students could sign up to be randomly selected for a $5,000 scholarship, seeded by a primary $25,000 gift from DMF.

Through the generosity of donors, who ultimately helped the AA&F raise $46,040, three scholarships were awarded on Giving Hearts Day. Six more will be announced during UND’s Spirit Week (Feb. 19-23).

In a simultaneous drive for the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS), more than $30,000 was raised by donors and matched by DMF to create and award five scholarships worth $12,500 each. The College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines received more than $8,000 in donations, which was boosted with an additional $4,000 from DMF.

“One of the main concerns of health career students is servicing their debt load after graduation,” said UND’s Vice President for Health Affairs and SMHS Dean Joshua Wynne. “The five scholarships we awarded will go a long way to help alleviate those concerns.”

Shelby Stoltz – also from Dickinson – is a first year student in the physical therapy program. She was in manual therapy class when she got the call that $5,000 would be going toward her career dream of helping people, literally, get back on their feet.

“I’m all about putting my name into random drawings just to see what happens. I got lucky this time, I guess,” she said, laughing. “Everyone knows what it’s like to be on a college budget. So I’m grateful to our alumni.”

Gift of giving

For Alumni Association & Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink, her personal calls to scholarship winners were the highpoints of the day.

“They were so excited and they were so gracious,” she said with a bright smile. “I was getting messages all day about how people were thrilled to participate in making these scholarships possible for these students. It shows the passion and love that so many people have for this great University.”

“I can’t thank our donors enough. Without them, this couldn’t have happened,” Dukart said just before receiving his giant scholarship check from Carlson Zink. “Seeing that our alumni give back makes me want to give back in the future.”

That’s the exact mentality sought by DMF President and UND alum Pat Traynor. He says Giving Hearts Day has grown beyond what the initial planning team had imagined 11 years ago – having raised nearly $55 million over that time.

“Everyone has the ability to give. Giving Hearts Day is about bringing people together around purpose, things that connect to their hearts,” Traynor said. “We hope it inspired the young people who signed up for these scholarships to realize that giving is a neat thing, and that generous people can get together and make these scholarships grow each year.”

This year’s scholarship drive was what Traynor called a “pilot,” and he will work with UND and North Dakota State University (which also partnered with DMF) to refine and enhance the opportunity for the future.

“Pat Traynor is a sparkplug. He’s very excited about everything surrounding philanthropy,” Carlson Zink beamed. “We’re lucky that he’s an alum of ours, and he cares about the students here at the University of North Dakota.”

Jace Dukart and Shelby Stoltz

UND students Jace Dukart (left) and Shelby Stoltz (right) were two of three $5,000 scholarship recipients announced on Giving Hearts Day. A third, Matthew Brown of Golden Valley, Minn., is an incoming freshman who will be pursuing aviation in the fall. Image courtesy of Sam Melquist/UND Alumni Association & Foundation.

Donor recognition

Although students were at the center of the Giving Hearts Day celebration, donors also had a chance for recognition.

Those who gave to the scholarship drive (at least $1,000 for the SMHS effort) were entered into a drawing to win naming rights to one of the scholarships they helped to support.

“It just shows how successful our alumni are,” Dukart said. “It means a lot that they care enough about their university to give back.”

It’s a cycle of giving and gratitude that Carlson Zink hopes continues from one generation of UND leaders in action to the next.

“This lays the groundwork for when students become alumni and they remember this feeling, of what it was like to receive a scholarship,” she said. “They can look back, after years of being away, and do the same for a student who will come after them.”

Scholarship winners

UND Alumni Association & Foundation

  • Jace Dukart – Accounting, Dickinson, N.D. (Megan Glasow Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Shelby Stoltz – Physical Therapy, Dickinson, N.D. (Monica Musich Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Matthew Brown – Aviation (incoming freshman), Golden Valley, Minn. (David Solseng Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Six additional scholarships announced during Spirit Week

UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences

  • Hannah Fiser – Occupational Therapy, Palmer Lake, Colo. (Drs. Don and Mary Ann Sens Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Brett Johnson – Medical student, Fargo, N.D. (Drs. Laura and Corey Kroetsch Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Erica Nelson – Medical student, Fargo, N.D. (Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Michelle Sanders – Physical Therapy, Brooten, Minn. (Lunn Family Giving Hearts Scholarship)
  • Shelby Wassink – Occupational Therapy, Hastings, Minn. (Colin and Kumi Combs Giving Hearts Scholarship)