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College foundation bridges past, present

DETROIT LAKES - The Detroit Lakes Area College Foundation celebrated with an Evening in Venice on Saturday evening, Feb. 23, at Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Detroit Lakes. The Foundation held its first fundraiser and networking event.

Just under 100 reserved seats represented alumni, MSCTC employees, local businesses, and former Founders 500 members. The Founders 500 was a trust association that raised money to support higher education in the Detroit Lakes area. That trust of membership has evolved into a Foundation with a Board of Directors.

The event was meant to do several things; bridge the old with the new, blend the community and the campus, feature successful alumni, and raise money.

Six successful alumni were showcased with a video testimonial of how MSCTC-DL impacted their lives. Melissa Coyne spoke of how she had once been a server working at least 8 shifts a week, every weekend and holiday, and the tips went to pay her bills.

As a single mom she went to MSCTC-DL, graduated in Radiology Technology, and is now working at a local hospital. She has since bought her own home and can comfortably raise her two daughters.

Another MSCTC-DL alum featured was Nick Mills, St. Cloud, who graduated from the motor sports program and is working for Warnert Brothers (Can-Am) Racing. He was unable to attend as he travels with the race team as a mechanic and was in Florida.

Michael Hanowski, Elk River, is an entrepreneur who graduated in Sales & Marketing. He owns Broadway Limousine in three metro locations. He talked about having spoken at the Taj Mahal and other prestigious places as well as his business catering to Donald Trump, Suzanne Somers, and many famous stars and athletes.

Judy Berghuis, Detroit Lakes, graduated from the paralegal program is a paralegal with a local law firm. Lauren Jensen, Hitterdal, graduated in a non-traditional field, Civil Engineering. She is employed by a local firm as an engineering technician. Craig Ramsay, Detroit Lakes area, is an entrepreneur.

The evening was made possible because of some dedicated volunteers from MSCTC faculty, staff, and students. Some worked in the kitchen for two days and others were servers dressed to reflect the Italian theme. Italian music played in the background while decorations about the MSCTC-DL Conference Room gave the ambiance of being in Venice, Italy.

After an authentic dinner of Italian salad, Acquacotta soup, bread with garlic butter, braciole, manicotti, and cheesecake was served, the chef who prepared the dinner was introduced.

His background was having lived an Italian culture with immigrant grandparents from the Calabria region of Italy. His grandfather had been an entrepreneur with owning an Italian nightclub and his brother owns an Italian restaurant in Dilworth.

Tim Gordon, the chef for the evening, surprised the crowd with his outstanding cooking. The event brought in about $6,000.