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Former regent and UMC provost dies

Stanley Sahlstrom
Stanley Sahlstrom, the founding father of the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

June 4, 2008; updated June 5, 2008

Stanley Sahlstrom was often called the founding father of the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC). In 1965 he was charged with leading the effort to transition the Crookston campus from a residential high school, known as the Northwest School of Agriculture, to a two-year technical college offering degrees in agriculture and business. The University of Minnesota, Crookston Technical College opened its doors the following year to 175 students.

During his tenure as provost (1965-1985), Sahlstrom secured funding for many of the campus buildings, including the Lysaker Gymnasium and Sports Center; established the Equine Program, and traveled throughout northwest Minnesota promoting the college. State Sen. Roger Moe has said that Sahlstrom's "gregarious grand style and ability to meet and greet people [were] almost a guarantee of success."

Today, UMC is a four-year public university with 1,200 students and numerous degree options. Sahlstrom died June 2 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

"Dr. Sahlstrom had a great passion for education and students," says UMC Chancellor Charles Casey. "His enthusiasm for student achievement and success was a hallmark of his years as provost, and he never lost that zeal. He continued to connect with former students throughout their careers and made a point of visiting them during his travels."

Did you know?

May 26, 1965--The Minnesota Legislature approved the creation and education appropriations funding for "the support of an Agricultural and Technical Institute-Crookston" to be located on the campus of the Northwest School of Agriculture.

September 11, 2007 was Stan Sahlstrom Day at the University of Minnesota and the Rotary Club of St. Cloud.

Raised on a dairy farm and the oldest of nine children, Sahlstrom graduated from high school in Onamia and earned bachelor's (1942), master's (1953), and doctoral (1961) degrees from the University of Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he met his wife, Ludmilla, and he also assisted in the rescue and relocation of the famous Lipizzaner horses from Czechoslovakia to Austria. Sahlstrom retired from the military in 1982 as a colonel in the Army Reserve.

In 1985 Sahlstrom resigned as UMC provost when elected to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents--a position he held for 12 years. For his leadership and exemplary service, Sahlstrom received in 1986 the Torch & Shield Award, the highest honor bestowed by UMC and the Northwest Research and Outreach Center. In 1997 UMC named the Sahlstrom Conference Center in his honor, and in 2001 he was inducted into the UMC Athletic Hall of Fame.

"[He was an] ardent advocate for rural Minnesota," adds Casey. "He is remembered for his vision, leadership, and commitment to the campus, the community of Crookston, the region, and the state. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues."

Sahlstrom leaves his daughter, Kristine Wahlin, and sons David, Timothy, and Stephen. Ludmilla Sahlstrom died in April 2004.

To learn more about Stan Sahlstrom, read his biography.

Memorial services will be June 11 at 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in St. Cloud and June 13 at 1 p.m. in UMC's Lysaker Gymnasium. (Visitation will be June 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Benson Funeral Home in St. Cloud and one hour prior to the first service.)