Giving Thanks for Scholarships event celebrates students and donors

November 9, 2022

Donor contributions to CFANS ensure that the College can transform learners into leaders

Students hold a sign that says thank you at the 2022 Giving Thanks for Scholarships event.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) hosts Giving Thanks for Scholarships annually to celebrate scholarship donors and recipients. On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, donors and recipients came together in a vibrant showcase of community. A reception allowed donors and students to mingle, and the McNamara Alumni Center reverberated with conversation and laughter. 

Emcee Amy Alch, senior development officer, began the program with, "CFANS students, you are the very heart of our College, and you’re the reason we’ve gathered tonight. You are a generation of innovators, creative thinkers, and problem solvers. We know that when you graduate, we’ll have the joy of seeing your CFANS experience play out in the world to build a brighter, more equitable, and more sustainable future.”

The theme—Transforming Learners into Leaders—came to life through four speakers. Dean Buhr spoke about the promise of education and the virtuous circle of giving. Carol Morales, a senior in food science, followed him, saying, “During my freshman year at a different university, the stress and fear I had over obtaining funding to cover the cost of tuition often brought me to tears. This stress led to me dropping out.” 

Morales worked for the next year, saving to come to CFANS, but still needed to work around 25 hours per week during school to make ends meet. Scholarships in her last two years made a major difference. “The privilege of scholarships ensures that my education will be thorough, preparing me for a career in industry," she said. "Scholarships have lessened the burden, making it possible to achieve my goals, and to you, I give great thanks.” Morales has accepted a position with Hormel Foods in Quality Control following graduation.

Justin Thomford, a senior double majoring in agricultural and food business management and animal science, was scheduled to speak next but was unable to due to unforeseen circumstances. Echo Martin from CFANS development shared his remarks. Thomford initially thought the U of MN wasn’t the right fit, but in his first semester elsewhere he realized how much he wanted to be a Gopher. Thanks to scholarships, he was able to transfer to CFANS. Through Martin, he shared, “I am beyond proud to say transferring here was the best decision I ever made. My gracious donors and everyone in this room made it possible for me and many of my peers to be here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

Sandy Ludeman was the final speaker. Ludeman earned his bachelor of science in agricultural economics in 1969 and, along with his wife Peggy, established two CFANS scholarships. Ludeman understands how vital scholarships are — because he didn’t have any. He said, “I took a weekend janitor position, working from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, waxing and polishing floors. Made good money, saved most of it — sacrificed a lot.” 

Ludeman encouraged students, “Dare to be different, dare to be courageous, dare to explore opportunities, and I will read great things about you in the years ahead.”

We’re grateful to all of our scholarship donors for making it possible for students from all backgrounds to come to CFANS, pursue their goals, and make a difference. Scholarship donors are truly transforming learners into leaders!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about supporting CFANS student scholarships, please contact Heather James at or 612-624-4285.