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Business Scholarships

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Fred Jensen Memorial Scholarship

The 2023 Fred Jensen Memorial Scholarship was presented to Coby Skjerven by Foundation Board member Mike Barry.

Fred Jensen a 1958 Lincoln High School graduate who left Thief River Falls to establish his career, never forgot his grassroots.

When Fred neared his retirement, affiliates of his organization and coworkers remembered the passion he had for Thief River Falls. Upon Fred’s retirement from NW Buyers and Jobbers, as the Executive Director, a retirement gift in his honor was established; The Fred D. Jensen Scholarship. This award is presented to a student majoring in Retail Merchandising with preference to fashion. Fred plays an active role in the decision making of this award.

Comments that were expressed in honor of his retirement:

Emily Lokken: "Fred is very dedicated, and he gave all to his job. I remember that when he would visit Thief River Falls we would walk down the street and he would always look at the store fronts and window displays. Need I mention that he is also a great brother in law."

Dick Bjorkman: "You took a chance many years back and went against the advise of your good friends in the business, but it was fortunate for NW Buyers, when Red Eide spotted an outstanding young baseball pitcher, Fred Jensen."

Ron Zieman, Norbys, Detroit Lakes: "Fred is one of those people who learned a long time ago that giving is better than getting. Fred not only helped individual retailers, but he helped the salesman. Fred took a genuine interest in the lives of people who he associated with whether it be personal or business. Dealing with 400 independent stores you have several ideas on what will work. Fred, would listen to everyone’s ideas and make the best of them. Fred is very caring and sharing."

Carl and Melva Lee Memorial Scholarship

The 2023 Carl & Melva Lee Memorial Scholarship was presented to Reece Janisch and by Cheryl and Larry Lee.

The Carl and Melva Lee Memorial Scholarship has been established to provide greater educational opportunities to Lincoln High School graduates. It will fund one annual scholarship award to a Lincoln High School senior who will be majoring in business.

Melva and Carl Lee were both 1935 Lincoln High School graduates. They were married in 1939 and made their home in Thief River Falls. Carl started working with his father, Ed, in the family business, Lee Plumbing and Heating, in 1936 and helped build the company into a leading mechanical contractor in northwestern Minnesota. They completed many commercial projects in the area and built a loyal clientele with the citizens of Thief River Falls and surrounding communities. Carl and Melva were also involved in several area organizations. They were members of the Eagles, Elks, Shrine Club, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, Old Fellows, TRF Jobs Inc., director of Union State Bank, and the curling club. They raised three children who are also all graduates of Lincoln High School.

Reed Realty Entrepreneurship Scholarship

The 2023 Reed Realty Scholarship was presented to Grace Gillespie by Samantha Lindgren.

This scholarship has been set up by Reed Realty for Lincoln High School graduates who are pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship or business management related fields.

Cliff Swanson Memorial Business Scholarship

Board member Mike Barry presented the 2023 Cliff Swanson Memorial
Business Scholarship to Cora Hintz.

The Cliff Swanson Memorial Business Scholarship is awarded to a Lincoln High School graduating senior who is majoring in business, is active in athletic extracurricular activities and demonstrates financial need.

Clifford Swanson was born in 1937, in Thief River Falls. He attended rural school, St. Hilaire Elementary and in 1955, graduated from Lincoln High School, Thief River Falls, where he was active in football and track. Following high school, Cliff worked at Sjulson Hatchery, St. Hilaire. He served in the Minnesota National Guard for several years starting in 1954.

In 1959, Cliff was united in marriage to Shirley Arveson. They made their home in Thief River Falls. In 1959, Cliff started working at Bridgeman Creameries, later worked at JC Penny’s Auto Center and for many years at Sears, all in Thief River Falls. In 1984, Cliff and Shirley bought Purdy’s Shoes in Thief River Falls.

Cliff was very active in the community. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, hunting, bowling, snowmobiling, spending time at the lake with family and grandchildren, wood-working and, best of all, any use for a chain saw and duct tape. Cliff enjoyed traveling with his family and was an explorer and adventurer traveling on road or off.

Cliff passed away in 2007. Shirley and her children, Jan, Lori and Trevor have established the Cliff Swanson Business Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of Cliff and to help encourage post-secondary education.

North Risk Partners Thune Management Scholarship

The 2023 North Risk Partners Thune Risk Management Scholarship was presented to Cierra Senum by Holly Haugen.

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