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A round table of 8 women at Crookston's centennial tea.

Crookston's Centennial Tea was attended by more than 100 women. Photo by John Zak.

All the tea... and china

UMC Centennial Tea focuses on women and giving

April 21, 2006; updated for Brief, April 26, 2006

On April 18, more than 100 women from the Crookston area sipped tea, admired fine porcelain tableware, and explored the power of giving to higher education at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC). The event, aptly named Centennial Tea in light of UMC's 100th anniversary, was the ninth of its kind to date.

Hosted by UMC's Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the annual invitation-only tradition is a time for women in the community to visit the campus and learn more about UMC's current education, research, and outreach mission, as well as how they can be a part of successful efforts to invest in the northwest region.

Susan Hagstrum speaking.
U of M First Lady Susan Hagstrum spoke on the power of giving. Photo by John Zak.

"Our vision is to bring women together whose gifts, when combined, will make a difference for women and women's leadership in education," said guest speaker Susan Hagstrum, wife of University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks. "We dream of making it possible for women to become philanthropists in ways that make sense for them personally and financially."

Hagstrum, who has served in leadership capacities for 27 years in K-12 public schools in Minnesota, stressed the importance of contributing personal time and resources to educational systems to help prepare students for an increasingly globally connected, knowledge-driven world.

A place setting for the Centennial Tea, china cup, saucer, and plate, silver service, and place card.
Each place setting included a description of the china pattern and its owner. Photo by Krista Lemos.

The invited guests were served a four-course tea with china and silver borrowed from community members and University faculty and staff. This time around, more than 20 people volunteered the use of their china, and several UMC students and staff members served the women. A card identifying the china pattern and the person who shared it is displayed beside each place setting.

This year's event also boasted Centennial Dream--a secret blend of black tea from the Osiyo Teahouse in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, created especially to honor UMC's centennial year.

Liz Tollefson and Sue Dwyer setting tea tables.
UMC staff members Liz Tollefson, left, and Sue Dwyer set tables for the Centennial Tea last week. Tollefson started the teas nine years ago.

"One of the things that inspires me," added Hagstrum, "is the people who give--people with limited means who find ways to give, and people with tremendous means. People do it because it feels good. They do it because it feels great."

To learn more about the Centennial Tea or volunteer opportunities, call the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 800-862-6466. The office is part of the University of Minnesota Foundation, which was established in 1962 as a separate nonprofit organization that raises and manages private gifts for the University of Minnesota campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and the Twin Cities.