The Minot State University Development Foundation, Bishop Ryan Catholic School Foundation and the Hstfest-Heritage Foundation have each received more than $1 million from the estate of Chuck and Madge Westlie.
Representatives of the foundations held a press conference at Minot State on Tuesday to announce the last donation from the estate of Madge Westlie, who died in January 2010, and of Chuck Westlie, who died in October 2011.
Maynard Sandberg, representing the MSU Development Foundation, said the bequest will be used to help fund scholarships, student recruiting efforts, and renovation of facilities.
Marv Semrau, vice president for advancement at MSU, introduces Maynard Sandberg, president of the MSU Development Foundation; Terry Voiles, superintendent of Bishop Ryan Catholic Schools; David Reiten, Norsk Høstfest president, and Gail Peterson, president of the Scandinavian Heritage Association, during a press conference Tuesday to announce a bequest from the Westlie Family estate.
Terry Voiles of Bishop Ryan Catholic Schools, said the bequest has gone a long way to helping the Catholic school expand and improve its facility so preschool through grade 12 can all be under the same roof. Little Flower Catholic School was destroyed by the Souris River flood of 2011 and elementary students were moved over to Ryan. A building addition is currently under construction at the school
David Reiten and Gail Peterson, representing the Hstfest-Heritage Association, said the bequest will be put to good use. Peterson said they hope to expand the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot.
"We are fortunate to have had Chuck and Madge Westlie in our lives," said Sandberg. "Their attitude was: We will always try to do our part. They helped so many people and organizations and through thoughtful planning on their part, their attitude and legacy will go on forever."
"Bishop Ryan Catholic School is very fortunate to be one of the many recipients endowed by the philanthropic spirit of Chuck and Madge Westlie," said Voiles, superintendent at Ryan. "The Westlies shared a vision for the Minot community that was well-rounded and far-reaching, and Catholic education was an important part of that vision. Pope Francis said, 'Charity, patience and tenderness are very beautiful gifts. If you have them, you want to share them with others.' This charitable gift from the Chuck and Madge Westlie estate mirrors the message of Pope Francis and largely enhances our ability to expand and renovate our school facility. Consequently, and more importantly, it helps us in our ability to expand and improve what we can offer our students relating to the best Catholic education possible and our commitment to Catholic values, academic rigor and service."
"On behalf of the Hostfest Heritage Association, I thank the Chuck and Madge Westlie family for their generosity," said Reiten, president of the Norsk Hstfest. "To be chosen as a beneficiary honors not only the missions of Norsk Hstfest and Scandinavian Heritage Association but the efforts of the countless individuals who dedicate time and energy to their existence. The Hstfest Heritage Foundation was founded as a means of ensuring the preservation and growth of Scandinavian heritage and culture in North America through the annual Norsk Hstfest ... and as stewards of this tremendous gift, we pledge to follow the model of growth and excellence championed by the Westlie family as we put it to use."
Chuck Westlie was president and general manager of the family business, Westlie Motor Co. and was also chairman of the board. He was married to Madge Westlie for 67 years.