Carlson Centennial Scholars Program

$50 Million Scholarship Fund Positions Carlson School to Fuel Future Workforce

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

With the creation of a new, $50 million endowed scholarship fund, the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management is now better able to attract, retain, and train top scholars who will become future business leaders in Minnesota and beyond.

The Carlson Centennial Scholars Program, funded by 15 donors, offers generous scholarship packages to new students. Undergraduate scholarships are renewable for four years while graduate student scholarships last for the duration of the student’s program. Named in honor of the school’s 100th year, Centennial Scholars also receive a stipend for the required international study experience and specialized programming to complement their studies.

“Thanks to our most ardent supporters, we will be able to compete for promising students from different backgrounds, and significantly grow our capacity to deliver a diverse and globally-prepared workforce,” said Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer. “As we move into our second century of business education, it is imperative that we produce leaders who will boost economic vitality, improve quality of life, and champion the discovery of positive solutions, here in Minnesota and around the world.”

A first cohort of 34 Centennial Scholars is currently enrolled. Within that group, nearly three quarters identify as female and almost 40% are students of color. Once fully operational, the program will support a minimum of 75 new Centennial Scholars per year.

“I feel very humbled and honored to be receiving a Centennial Scholarship,” said Brianne Brewster, ‘24 BSB, from Burnsville, Minn. “One thing that was going to possibly hold me back from attending the Carlson School was the financial burden I worried it would cause. However, receiving this scholarship reiterates that this is the right place for me and that I will be able to make ends meet financially and focus more on being successful in the classroom and in other aspects of my life!”

Ensuring students like Brianne choose the Carlson School is a main reason why donors like John and Nancy Lindahl made a gift to the fund.

"We are honored to be part of accelerating critical scholarships for the Carlson School of Management," said John and Nancy Lindahl, Centennial Scholars donors and co-chairs of Driven. The University of Minnesota Campaign. "Our world needs young leaders to engage and advance world changing ideas and innovations. Centennial Scholar students will be supported to elevate their academic and professional experiences and enter the workforce ready to embody business as a force for good."

As Carlson Centennial Scholars benefit from this scholarship program, they will in turn contribute to the ongoing growth of Minnesota businesses and communities.

“We are thrilled to team up with the Carlson School for this scholarship that supports teens who want to pursue a post-secondary education,” said Andrea Wood, head of Social Impact at Best Buy, one of the companies who funded this program. “We know that jobs in management within the tech industry are increasing, so the need to diversify and expand talent is extremely important. This scholarship is just one more way Best Buy is preparing teens for the jobs of the future.”

With the Carlson Centennial Scholars Program in place, the school has raised $100 million in student scholarship support during the U of M’s Driven fundraising campaign.

“A core priority of our campaign has been student support,” said Travis Smith, assistant dean for Institutional Advancement. “The flexible way in which the Centennial Scholars Program is designed will enable future School leaders to have the funding they need to attract the very best students for decades to come. We are eternally grateful for the vision and generosity of the Centennial Founders.”

The Centennial Founders include:

  • Leland and Nancy Annett
  • Best Buy
  • Jim and Carmen Campbell
  • Carlson Family Foundation
  • Robert L. and Judith Duffy
  • Don and Lorraine Freeberg Foundation
  • Brian Gerhardson and John Shade
  • Larry and Beverly Hinman
  • John and Nancy Lindahl
  • Bill and Judy Walter
  • J.A. Wedum Foundation
  • John and Annette Whaley
  • 3M
  • Anonymous (2)