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The 1858 Founders Society

Enacted by the Minnesota Legislature in 1858, Winona State Normal School became the first teacher training institution west of the Mississippi. The governor of Minnesota at that time stressed the importance of education in providing for the leaders of tomorrow.

The name of the institution has changed several times as it has grown to maturity. But nearly 150 years later, its philosophy of providing a quality education for its graduates and providing qualified leaders for tomorrow has remained a tradition.

The founding of this fine institution is now the fitting symbol for Winona State University’s deferred giving group, The 1858 Founders Society.

The 1858 Founders Society honors a special group of friends who have provided for Winona State University in their estate plans. A bequest, or other deferred gift of any size, brings membership in this very special recognition society. The gift amount is entirely a member’s choice. There are no required levels of support or membership dues. The amount and condition of each gift remains confidential. Anonymity will also be respected if the donor wishes.

If you would like more information about The 1858 Founders Society or ways to include WSU in your estate plan, please contact us today.

If you believe that you already qualify for membership, we invite you to complete the 1858 Founders Society form and mail it to:

WSU Foundation
Somsen 204
PO Box 5838
Winona, MN 55987

2013 Inductees 

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Betty J. Anderson, a friend of the university, generously left a portion of her estate to Winona State University.
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Harriet Johnson August was born in Winona in 1924 and grew up a few blocks from the Winona State campus. After graduating from Winona Senior High School, she moved to Chicago and enjoyed a long and very successful career, first in banking and then in real estate. She passed away in March 2013 at the age of 87. Harriet remained devoted to Winona throughout her life. While unable to attend college herself, she believed that education offered a path to advancement and success. To honor her hometown values and faith in the power of education, Harriet bequeathed her estate to endow scholarships at Winona State. To recognize Harriet’s transformative gift, Winona State has named the “Harriet Johnson Auditorium” in Somsen Hall in her honor. Her legacy will touch the lives of students far into the future. 

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William J. "Bill" Doerer was born Dec. 28, 1939 in Winona. Bill graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1957 and went on to earn a business degree from the University of Miami, FL and returned to Winona where he joined the family business. His roles in the family business included partner in Doerer's Fuel Oil and vice president of Doerer's Genuine Parts. Bill was former director of the Winona Housing Authority, past President of the Rotary Club of Winona where he was a 49 year member, past exalted ruler of Winona Elks Lodge where he was a 52 year member and past ambassador supreme and board member of the Winona Chamber of Commerce. He was a lifelong parishioner and former Vestry member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Winona. Bill passed away March 15, 2013.

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Dr. Paul Haake was born in Winona and attended Phelps Elementary School at Winona State University.  Having earned his BA and PhD from Harvard University then his MAAE from Wesleyan University, he was a noted research chemist and educator of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at Wesleyan University as well as UCLA. Paul devoted much of his career to teaching and was very proud of the extremely popular series of courses he taught at Wesleyan for non-science majors. Dr. Haake gave back to WSU in memory of Lawrence Byrnestad and Doc Howard Daniels, two people who had great influence on his life, so as to provide scholarship opportunities to outstanding new Winona State students. In addition, Winona State University was named the primary beneficiary of Paul’s estate with a generous legacy gift. 

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Mary F. Neil was born July 19, 1925 in Northfield, MN.  Mary graduated from Northfield High School in 1943 and studied at Winona State Teacher’s College, graduating in 1947.  She taught for 37 years as a secondary math teacher in Port Huron, MI.  Mary also attended Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary and served as a United Methodist Minister in Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado.  She was a member of the Michigan teachers Association and honored to serve on the board of directors for Port Huron Community College. In her free time, Mary enjoyed reading, watching professional and collegiate baseball and football as well as spending time with her friends.  Mary passed away in December of 2012.

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After graduating from John Marshall High School in 1965, Barbara attended Rochester Junior College, earning an AA degree in 1967.  That fall, she enrolled at Mankato State University and earned a BS in Social Work, Sociology and Psychology in 1969.  Barbara began her career at the Rochester State Hospital, serving in various supervisory and director positions. Barbara later earned her MBA in 1984 and participated in WSU’s graduation in spring 1985.  In 1991, she accepted a position as the Grants/Projects Manager at Hawkeye Community College in Iowa.  After Barbara moved to Iowa, she met and married Don Roeder, who worked for John Deere.  Barbara retired from Hawkeye Community College more than 19 years of service. She and her husband established a scholarship through their estate with a goal of helping students who have financial need and an academic record showing their potential to succeed. 

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Nels Minne was the ninth president of Winons State University when Dolores Sande decided to attend college after having graduating from high school twenty years earlier.

"I wanted to become a teacher more than anything I have ever set out to do. I frequently played 'school teacher' as a child, my favorite childhood pastime.  My heart has been set on this idea for a very long time. I enrolled in the Lutheran Bible Institute following high school so be trained on doing parish and ministry work. While I loved my work in youth ministry and parish administration, it became more apparent to me than ever I had to realize my dream of being a teacher. Winona State University made my dream come true".

Following two years at Luther College which became too expensive to continue, and commuting from Rushford  to WSU while residing at home on the farm to save money  for the tuition, Dolores car pooled with three others who were also enrolled at WSU at the time. When thinking back, Dolores smiles upon herself in how weather could play havoc with their driving and if it was her turn during a winter storm she would trade her turn with one of the others in the car for that day. The oldest of four girls and one brother, Dolores took on child care responsibilities as young as eleven years old. Tragically her brother died at the age of six years which broke everyone's heart especially her mother and father, leaving them with four daughters to raise.

Never married, Dolores turned her life's priorities to teaching, leading a third grade classroom in the Rochester Minnesota School District for over twenty-six years.  Her extended family includes fourteen nieces and nephews, thirty-five great nieces and nephews, and four great great nieces and nephews and as Dolores puts it, "another one on the way". Her teaching colleagues became her friends, many of whom remain in Rochester as retired teachers today.

Why did I want to create this endowed scholarship she asks of herself. The answer is simple: I want to help another generation of teachers realize their dream, especially those who decide to return to school after having been in the work force for several years. If i am able to motivate another to become a quality teacher, what better way to influence our upcoming generations of student in shaping their future lives.
This is why I want to give back to the teaching profession. It warms my heart to think I am able to help another realize their dream.

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Steve R. Volkman graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1990 and went on to Winona State University to pursue his BA in composite materials engineering which he achieved in 1994. He later earned his MBA at Western Illinois University in 2004 and is now with PlastiComp, Inc. as manager of manufacturing, technology, and engineering. Steve has more than 15 years of experience in engineering and leadership and member of various professional and service organizations. During his professional career he has been awarded the John Deere World Wide Ag Engineering Innovation Award, has four U.S. patents, one pending U.S. patent and one European patents.  He is a member of the WSU Engineering Advisory Board and established a scholarship through his estate to support WSU Engineering student. In his free time Steve enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, competing in triathlons and spending time with his three children. 

Donor Honor Roll

All existing members of the 1858 Founders Society.