Bemidji State University’s Beaux Arts Ballroom was packed with BSU scholarship recipients, donors and university staff on November 2 for the university’s 8th annual Scholarship Appreciation Brunch.

Hosted by the Alumni & Foundation office, the annual event celebrates the efforts of scholarship recipients and honors donors who have made financial commitments through endowed scholarships for BSU students.

Nearly 300 attendees heard from BSU President Faith Hensrud and Josh Christianson, the executive director for university advancement, who spoke about the critical role donors play in the success of Bemidji State’s scholarship recipients. They thanked donors for supporting BSU and congratulated scholarship recipients for earning their awards through hard work and persistence.

Donors for many of the 165 scholarship recipients at the brunch were also in attendance, giving those students a special opportunity to thank their donors in person. Both scholarship recipients and donors were able to get their photo taken together as well as learn more about each other. For donors who were unable to attend the brunch, photos of their scholarship recipient will be sent to them as a way of thanking them for their support.

Bemidji residents and long-time Bemidji State supporters Steve and Sue Engel were featured in a special video interview in which they spoke about their involvement with BSU as community members and why they choose to support the university.

“We give because we get so much back from BSU, but we also hope that our and other’s giving inspires students to give back as they leave the university,” Sue said in the video.

BSU donors Sue and Steve Engel share their story during a video presentation

All scholarship recipients received a certificate and were congratulated by BSU President Faith Hensurd, Dr. Tony Peffer, provost and vice president for academic & student affairs and the dean of their respective colleges.

This year, the Bemidji State Alumni & Foundation office awarded 479 endowed scholarships worth over $603,000 to BSU students representing a wide variety of programs and backgrounds.

BSU senior and Badger, Minn. native Alex Burkel summarized the morning by expressing his appreciation for the gift of scholarships in a video interview that also played during the program.

“The only way I can repay [my donors] is to use my scholarship to the best of my ability. I can assure you your investment is not a poor one,” Burkel said.