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Letter: Engelstads have given so much to UND

To the editor,

In reading the June 28 Grand Forks Herald, an egregious statement in the front page story "SBHE to consider Kennedy contract extension" jumped out at me, and I felt it important to set the record straight.

Eric Murphy, UND professor and former State Board of Higher Education faculty representative, was quoted as saying that the Engelstad family "frankly hasn't given a lot to the university since the arena."

This statement could not be further from the truth. The Engelstad Family Foundation, now known as the Engelstad Foundation, pledged $20 million to UND in 2007, six years after the Ralph Engelstad Arena opened. That pledge was paid in $2 million installments over 10 years.

Their commitment to the university gave the UND Alumni Association and Foundation a huge boost as the lead gift to the North Dakota Spirit Campaign that ended with a grand total of $324 million. No gift to that campaign was larger than the one received from the Engelstad Family Foundation.

In addition to the gift of a world-class arena which benefits the entire state and region, the Engelstad Family Foundation has given more than $24 million through the UND Foundation to benefit the University of North Dakota. Their generosity funds late bloomer and underrepresented student scholarships and provides a margin of excellence for UND athletics. We are so grateful to Kris Engelstad McGarry and Betty Engelstad for the faith they have shown in UND to educate the future leaders of our state, region and world.

It is disappointing that a faculty member would not be aware of the continued generosity of a family that has given so much to the University of North Dakota. We perhaps need to communicate more thoroughly to the campus community the incredible impact all our donors have on the students, faculty, programs and facilities of this great university.

DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO

UND Alumni Association and Foundation