It’s been a full academic year since I came to Winona State. Kelley and I are settling in, gaining new insights on the culture and traditions of WSU, and the cities of Winona and Rochester. It is clearer than ever that this university thrives because it is an integral part of these communities. Students and learning are central to our mission, but WSU is for everyone who is involved in or inspired by what we do.
We can never fully know the impact we have on others, as exemplified by two recent major gifts to WSU from former Winona community members. Although neither individual attended Winona State, they were inspired by our mission in some special way.
Harriet Johnson grew up in a house three blocks from campus and graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1942. She never attended college but told family members that she believed young people need a college education to succeed in today’s society. Countless WSU students will benefit through scholarships funded by Harriet’s estate gift of nearly $1 million.
Paul Haake, noted research chemist and educator, attended the Phelps Elementary School on the Winona State campus as a child. After graduating from Winona Senior High he went on to college, medical school and eventually graduate school in chemistry at Harvard. Paul’s estate of nearly $1.5 million was designated for scholarships to honor people influential in his life, a local pastor, his parents and a physical education director at the Winona YMCA. His dedication to education will live on through the students who use their talents to improve the world.
From generous benefactors enriching the lives of our students to creating academic options responsive to our regional needs, Winona State is a community effort, and I am deeply grateful for the support each of you gives.
Sincerely yours,Scott R. Olson