The Bentson Family Scholars

A Community of Leaders

Bentson Scholars come from all across the region and country to become part of the thriving intellectual scene at the University of Minnesota. They study in diverse fields and pursue wide-ranging interests, but they all share an enthusiasm for learning along with the drive to discover.

What started as a group of 17 in 2004 has grown to comprise several hundred talented individuals--both graduates and current students--who proudly call themselves Bentson Scholars. They maintain a student organization and gather throughout the year, continuing a tradition started by the program's founders, who held activities ranging from picnics to movie outings to talent shows.

The program began as the vision of alumni Larry and Nancy Bentson, who made a gift of $10 million to attract the most promising undergraduates to the U of M. "Our many successes, personally and professionally, are rooted in our University of Minnesota education," they said. "From this background and our desire to have others sample some of these same life experiences, we established the Bentson Family Scholarship." At the time, it was the largest gift the U had ever received for scholarship support.

Though Larry and Nancy have passed on, Bentson family members and friends stay connected to the scholars and to the program by hosting events and making additional financial gifts. Support from the family as well as a network of alumni mean that the Bentson Scholarship is much more than a financial aid program: It's a community of leaders making positive change in Minnesota and beyond.

From the video archive