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From the Dean

Dean Bev Durgan

Bev Durgan, Dean

Generous donors extend the reach of Extension

Extension's impact is supported by our friends who generously give to ensure that we continue to make a difference in Minnesota and the world.

I am inspired by the many donors who are choosing to advance the education and research they are most passionate about — addressing issues in agriculture, leadership, youth development, gardening, communities, environment and families.

Earlier this year, KARE-11's Boyd Huppert featured a beautiful and moving story of one generous gift to Extension's 4-H program on his segment, "Land of 10,000 Stories." Curt Chergosky made an estate gift worth over $4 million to 4-H youth development in memory of his late fiancée, 4-H program coordinator Andrea Ruesch, who died suddenly in 2009 after blood clots formed in her lungs. The gift supports programs in southwestern Minnesota and statewide as well as post-secondary scholarships for youth in nine counties in southwest Minnesota.

If you have not already shed a tear over this story, please take a few minutes to watch A Gift for the Ages.

In May, there was yet another opportunity to celebrate a life well lived. The family of the late Mary Page, former University of Minnesota Regent, county commissioner and mayor, chose to honor her memory in a way that was as action-oriented as she was. They formed the Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund to support community-driven projects through Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

Curt Chergosky

Photo courtesy of KARE 11/Jonathan Malat

Lakefield-area farmer Curt Chergosky's planned gift to 4-H honors his late fiancée, Andrea Ruesch. The gift supports 4-H programs, scholarships and opportunities for youth to learn about agriculture-related jobs as the U.S. faces a shortage of agricultural scientists.

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And this summer, during the heart of Minnesota's growing season, Pam Hartley, a longtime Extension Master Gardener, created a new endowment fund to support statewide Master Gardener education, as well as including this new fund in her estate planning.

These are just a few of the many ways Extension's friends are investing in the future of Minnesota through investments in Extension education and research.

You can learn more about supporting any of the existing funds, or creating a new one, by checking out our giving website or talking with our development directors, Jane Johnson and Cara Miller.


Beverly R. Durgan
Dean, University of Minnesota Extension

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