RSDP Happenings: Mary Page event set for May 21, 2014
By Ronnie Schwenn
Mary J. Page (1934-2013) was a trailblazer and a leader who fought to give a voice to rural Minnesota. Whether it was as the first woman Mayor of Olivia, MN, or as the commissioner of Renville County, she worked tirelessly to promote the needs of Greater Minnesota through her citizen-driven service.
Please join us for an event to honor Mary's legacy and to kick off the Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships FundDonate to the Mary J. Page Fund
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Cargill Building, 1500 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108
Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit: firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-624-7971.
Mary Page and her husband, Jim, moved to Olivia after college Indiana, and the two purchased a 50-year-old drug store in Olivia. After beginning their family and business, Mary began to dedicate more time to public service. By the time of her passing last October, she had served more than 50 organizations in her community and in the state of Minnesota, including Lutheran Social Services, League of Minnesota Cities, and Governor's Office of Volunteer Services. Over many years, she also helped lay the foundation for many public health programs in Renville County.
Mary was a citizen leader for the University of Minnesota as well. In addition to being on the U's Board of Regents for six years, she helped to form the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP). Her role on the board of the West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership helped to set a precedent for the kind of citizen-driven projects the partnerships would continue to serve in rural Minnesota.
According to Kathy Draeger, RSDP statewide director, "Mary's values and her dedication to the organization left a lasting impression on the Partnerships. We strive every day to continue her legacy of community involvement and to the well-being of Greater Minnesota."
Mary was known as a mentor to many women. Two of her fellow county commissioners from Western Minnesota, Marcie McLaughlin and Jean Burkhardt, noted that while she mentored many women in elected positions, Mary had a knack for making each woman feel special and appreciated. "Mary had grand visions for what rural communities could be, and she was in it for the long haul," McLaughlin said.
Mary Page's family and the Regional Partnerships have worked together to create a Fund in her honor, to be called the Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund. The endowment will provide support to RSDP, which is now a part of University of Minnesota Extension. Specifically, it will support undergraduate and graduate students working on citizen-driven projects in Greater Minnesota. In addition to the Page family's generosity in founding the fund, Mary's daughter Marcia has created a dollar-for-dollar challenge match for new contributions.