Friends and family of U alum Kevin Herkenhoff with their $40,000 mock check. Their gift to the U will fund the scholarship endowment in Herkenhoff's memory.
Remembering a friend
By Mike Peluso
From eNews, November 11, 2004
When U alum Kevin Herkenhoff died of heart failure in 1991, his friends started a scholarship fund in his memory. It was the perfect way, they say, to remember a go-getter friend who valued education.
"This scholarship would probably exist whether Kev was here or not," says Frank Kara, a high school and college friend. "If he was alive, Kev would be the driving force. We all saw that [quality in him], and we figured we needed to honor our friend this way [with a scholarship because] education was very important to him."
Herkenhoff, who graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 1985 and the U's Carlson School of Management in 1990, continued to take classes at the U even while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
For years, his friends raised funds for the scholarship by selling discount coupon books, conducting rummage sales, and staging golf tournaments. They called their effort "Team FAR" to suggest to Henry High students how far they could reach or go to make their dreams come true.
"We started this [effort] before any of us really had careers and families," says Kara, now compliance director for Intercollegiate Athletics at the U. "We didn't really know what we were doing. We were 27."
But, they knew enough to make a difference for a lucky group of students from North Minneapolis-five of whom are now at the University of Minnesota. The other scholarship recipients went to the University of St. Thomas, St. Olaf College, and Hamline University.
Recently, Herkenhoff's parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and his friends walked from the Herkenhoff's home in Minneapolis to Patrick Henry High School, then on to the Twin Cities campus, where they presented U officials with a check for $40,000. The gift, spurred by the President's Scholarship Match, will create a permanent endowment to provide merit-based scholarships for Henry High students. The match doubles the impact of the gift, meaning twice as many students can be helped.
To learn more about scholarship giving, see www.giving.umn.edu.