Good things in small packages
A father-daughter pair of SMHS grads join forces on a scholarship endowment for athletic training students.
It was one heckuva Christmas present.
“Not only was I extremely humbled by this wonderful gift,” wrote Kristen Erredge from her Mayo Clinic office in Rochester, Minn., “but I am honored that my family chose to support athletic training.”
The daughter of a UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences graduate, Greg Greek (MD, ’85), Erredge was speaking of what at the time seemed a rather “small” physical gift last year that turned out to be hugely significant—for her and the generations of athletic trainers to come.
In 2021, Kristen’s father took advantage of the dollar match opportunities at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation in an effort to double the impact of a scholarship endowment he established in his daughter’s name: the Kristen Greek Scholarship.
Aimed at UND athletic training students, who are housed within the School of Medicine & Health Sciences Department of Sports Medicine, the endowment will provide a scholarship of approximately $5,000 each year to one or more master-level student in the School’s growing athletic training program, which just this year began offering a Master of Athletic Training degree.
“My parents have always been extremely supportive of my endeavors, but they have also guided me to be the person I am within the health professions,” Erredge continued. “I grew up in and out of the athletic training room—going to games with my dad as a child—so my passion for sports and caring for people continued to grow as I got older. I knew this profession was where my heart was.”
Such passion runs in the family, of course, as does understanding the value of a scholarship.
Born and raised in North Dakota, Greg Greek took an interest in problem-solving—not to mention science—to UND in 1973 to earn a degree in what is now called medical laboratory science. Looking to up his game after a few years in the field, Greek matriculated into the medical doctor program at UND’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences in 1981.
“I knew right away that I wanted to do family practice, and the residency they were just starting here at the time was responsible for taking care of the university’s athletics program,” Kristen’s father explained of his post-graduate training. “So, as a resident, I got interested in the sports aspect of [primary care] right away and ended up taking care of the 1987 hockey team—you know, the [Tony] Hrkac Circus and all that—under the guidance of Dr. William Mann.”
Shortly thereafter, the now Doctor Greek was offered a position at what is today the Altru Health System Family Medicine Residency on the UND campus where he and Mann have worked shoulder-to-shoulder ever since.
It was here that Greek would bring his endowment’s namesake, teaching her about all aspects of medical care for athletes from a young age, and come to appreciate the dedication of the athletic trainers he would meet both on and off the ice.
“I worked with a lot of athletic trainers, and they were always the first ones there—whether for practice or game day—and the last to go home,” Greek mused. “And they have a great deal of responsibility with, often, one of the lower salaries for health professionals. So I thought that was fitting to set up the scholarship for students who go into that profession.”
The veteran physician says such a desire to give back comes from his own experience.
“Both as an undergraduate and a medical student, I received scholarships,” admits Greek, who first matriculated at UND in 1973. “So I always felt an obligation to give back, and I think that’s what a lot of people do. But this was especially important to me.”
Erredge agreed, noting that had it not been for the generosity of others, she would not likely be practicing patient care at Mayo Clinic.
“From my parents to the wonderful athletic training staff at the University of North Dakota, I would not be where I am today without the support of everyone who helped me along the way,” she said. “This scholarship will provide an opportunity to a deserving athletic training student every year, and I am honored that my family has provided such a wonderful gift.”
For more information on the Kristen Greek Scholarship Endowment for athletic training, or to give to the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, call 701.777.2611 or email Jeff Dodson at jeffd@UNDfoundation.org.