Continuing Education Endowment
Ben and Ruth Gustafson not only dedicated their lives to higher education, they left behind a legacy of learning.
University of North Dakota online students are invited to apply for the Ben and Ruth Gustafson Continuing Education Endowment opportunity. Applications must be received by March 1.
Online Endowment Eligibility
The Ben and Ruth Gustafson Continuing Education Endowment Scholarship will be awarded once a year. To be eligible, you must be:
- Enrolled* in one of the University of North Dakota’s online or distance education certificate or degree programs that is approved by the State Board of Higher Education, or
- Planning to enroll in a non-credit certificate course or program.
*Degree and certificate program applicants need to be admitted to the University of North Dakota and have completed two consecutive semesters in the program within the past year to be eligible for the scholarship.
To apply, submit an online application by March 1. Past recipients of the Ben and Ruth Gustafson scholarship are not eligible to reapply.
Applications will be reviewed by the Award Committee in March of each year. The amount of the scholarship will depend on the annual availability of funds. Students awarded a scholarship will be contacted by email.
Upon acceptance of the Ben and Ruth Gustafson Continuing Education Endowment Scholarship, you will be notified about how the scholarship funds will be distributed and you will be encouraged to send an acknowledgment to the Gustafson family.
About the Endowment
Ben and Ruth Gustafson not only dedicated their lives to higher education, they left behind a legacy of learning. Ben began more than 30 years of service to UND and students when he accepted a position as chemistry professor in 1941. In 1957, he took on the challenge of overseeing, strengthening and broadening the University’s extension programs. During the next 12 years, nearly one out of every five North Dakotans was served by the Division of Continuing Education (now known as the Office of Extended Learning). After retiring as dean, Ben served as coordinator of research and development until 1974. During the early 1970s, Ben was named North Dakota Adult Educator of the Year and received the Julius M. Nolte Award for outstanding leadership from the National University Continuing Education Association. In May 1980, Gustafson Hall, which houses the Office of Extended Learning, was named in his honor. Ben died in 1982.
Ruth's dedication to education, the University, music and the arts was apparent throughout her life. In addition to a 23-year career working in the UND Registrar’s Office and Alumni Office, Ruth played the violin with many musical groups including 45 years with the Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 95, she continued to show an interest in students and often asked, “How are things going at the Division of Continuing Education?” Ruth died in June 2000, three months after officially signing the papers for the Ben and Ruth Gustafson Continuing Education Endowment for distance learners. Today, the Gustafson family includes Ben and Ruth’s late son Bernard, daughter Lorna Berge (Thomas), five grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.