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Feature

Kirby Pucket and a group of U students in the Metrodome.

The late Kirby Puckett with a group of University of Minnesota Puckett Scholars and mascots, Goldy Gopher and T.C. Bear.

Puckett Scholars remember Twins legend

March 7, 2006

As the world mourns the loss of legendary Minnesota Twins player Kirby Puckett, University of Minnesota officials are praising the baseball legend for his contributions to helping young people achieve their dreams.

In 1994, Kirby and Tonya Puckett created the Puckett Scholars program to provide scholarships for up to five years to incoming University freshmen, with preference being given to persons of color.

"People will forever remember Kirby Puckett as a legendary Minnesota Twin," says University President Bob Bruininks. "But here at the U, he'll forever be a 'Minnesota Gopher' for his long-term commitment to enabling young people to achieve their dreams."

Since the program started, 45 students have received the Puckett Scholar award. Twelve students are in the program this year.

Ibanga Umanah, a student in the Carlson School of Management and a Puckett Scholar, says, "Kirby was a great man, it was an honor to have met him, and it means a lot that he would give back to students like me so generously."

The Pucketts created the scholarship program with an initial gift of $250,000 that was matched with another $250,000 from an anonymous donor.

Gerald Fischer, president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Foundation says, "The Puckett Scholars program has made a profound difference in the lives of young people. To date, these scholarships have changed the lives of 45 students, and over time, the program will help hundreds more. Because the Puckett Scholars program was set up as an endowment, it will forever be helping young people achieve a college education. What a legacy."

For more information about the Puckett Scholars program, visit the University of Minnesota Foundation or call 612-624-3333.