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Remembering Abi Nadeau Winsor

Accountancy alums create scholarship honoring life and contributions of inspirational 2014 grad

Abi Nadeau Winsor
Abi Nadeau Winsor, a 2014 accounting and management graduate, recently passed away after a 10-month battle with brain cancer. To help fulfill one of her many goals, her closest friends established a scholarship fund in her name. Photo by Shawna Schill.

UND Accountancy Chair and Professor Kate Campbell recognizes the sense of community that surrounds the department.

The biggest joy of her position is meeting the students who go on to earn accounting degrees and eventually pursue careers in public accounting and business. Accountancy students come from diverse backgrounds and experiences; many maintain a connection to UND’s College of Business & Public Administration throughout their careers.

Some stand out, including Abi Nadeau Winsor – a 2014 graduate.

“She was her own person and resilient to the challenges in her life,” Campbell said. “She had a joy. She was happy and positive with a grit our alumni are known for.”

Last month, Winsor, 26, passed away after a 10-month battle with brain cancer.

Before her passing, classmates and close friends took it upon themselves to establish a scholarship fund in her name. The Abi Nadeau Winsor Scholarship will pass her love of education to accounting students for years to come.

“It’s incredible,” Campbell said. “Creating this scholarship showed a drive to do something positive, to think beyond the present situation and do something permanent and enduring to benefit other people.”

Peer inspiration

Katherine Campbell
Katherine Campbell

Josh Nelson and Libby Rabon, alums and friends of Winsor, had a copy of UND Accountancy Excellence on their kitchen counter a few days after Winsor was moved to hospice care. The annual magazine highlights the work of both students and graduates through their connections to UND Accountancy. One section lists scholarships created for the department.

“As we were looking through it, we noticed that a couple people we went to school with had set up scholarships,” Nelson said. “That’s when Libby had the idea of trying to establish one in Abi’s name.”

Campbell received a text from the pair, asking what they needed to do to set up a scholarship. At first, they thought they would fund it themselves, but Campbell knew more would want to contribute. She contacted Jay Erickson at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, who is a development director for the CoBPA.

“I told him I wanted to get the fund set up so I could send the email out about it,” Campbell said, wanting to make sure Winsor would be able to see it. Erickson made it a priority and the Abi Nadeau Winsor Scholarship Fund soon became official.

Friend to all

Winsor sporting Kelly Green at a Minnesota Twin's game. Image courtesy of Anne Holland.
Winsor sporting Kelly green at a Minnesota Twin’s game. Image courtesy of Anne Holland.

After graduating with honors and degrees in accounting and management, Winsor went to work for CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), which is where alum Kasey Bosch met her. Bosch is one of many who immediately recognized Winsor for her kindness and personality, saying she was so delightfully weird and fun that one couldn’t help but want to be her friend.

“I have never met anyone so positive and optimistic about life,” Bosch said. “Her kindness immediately stood out to me when I first met her. She was always willing to help and would always be there for you, no matter what.”

Nelson says those qualities existed at UND and after graduation at CLA, where she would volunteer with Junior Achievement – a program teaching financial literacy to elementary and middle school students. At UND, she was president of the Accounting Club and treasurer for Student Government. Winsor would try to help others even if that meant more work and less time for herself.

Winsor’s determination to support others is a hallmark of UND Accountancy alumni, says Campbell. She saw it in her recent graduates as they found a way to handle a situation seemingly beyond control.

“When something like this happens, you grasp at straws,” Campbell said. “You don’t know what to do. But they recognized that an immortality comes from these scholarships – that someone’s memory lives on and their life continues to make positive contributions.”

Anne Holland (left) and Winsor grew to be close friends throughout their time at UND. She says Winsor often mentioned her goal to one day give back to the department and University that availed her so many opportunities to succeed. Image courtesy of Anne Holland.
Anne Holland (left) and Winsor grew to be close friends throughout their time at UND. She says Winsor often mentioned her goal to one day give back to the department and University that availed her so many opportunities to succeed. Image courtesy of Anne Holland.

Enduring qualities

After Campbell set up the scholarship announcement, Nelson and Rabon visited their friend to tell her the news. Despite the effects of her pain medication, Winsor had a big reaction to hearing what they had done.

“She covered her mouth and her eyes got big,” Nelson said. “She started to tear up. I read the email Dr. Campbell sent and I don’t think anyone in the room had dry eyes by the end.”

It wasn’t long before Winsor’s characteristic humor brought things back, joking that an endowment was the most accountant way of “haunting a place.”

“I thought that was a great line,” Campbell remarked, smiling.

Because of the assistance she received through numerous scholarships, Winsor eventually wanted to afford students the same opportunities, says Anne Holland, a close friend of eight years. She hopes eventual recipients of the Abi Nadeau Winsor Scholarship take the time to learn about Abi and all she did at UND.

Holland wants the most inspiring person she’s met to be remembered for her go-getter attitude, generosity and positivity.

“That doesn’t even do justice in describing the amazing person she was,” Holland said. “I hope people receiving this scholarship will be inspired to work hard, get involved and be positive.”

Donations to the Abi Nadeau Winsor Scholarship Fund can be made through this link provided by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.