Paying tribute: A story of giving

After a successful career that took him all over the country, Dennis Longren’s heart never left his alma mater or his home state of Minnesota.

Longren, who graduated at the top of his class with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1956, died in 2002. His wife, Hazel, wanted to continue her husband’s dedication to the University and pay tribute to the program from which he graduated by creating the Dennis R. Longren Scholarship Fund.

“I felt this was important because my husband’s education really led to a nice life for us, and I hope to help others do the same with this support,” said Longren, who also attended the University with her late husband.

According to Longren, the scholarship is meant to give back for an education that translated into a prosperous engineering career.

Today, Longren is still very involved with the University and volunteers at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with gardening needs, one of her life-long passions.

She has formed new relationships with the College of Science and Engineering students who have received the scholarship. Recipients will typically send her a letter expressing their gratitude and telling her a little bit about themselves.

“I have had the pleasure to read some very nice notes, which I really appreciate,” Longren said.

Longren intended for the scholarship to last far into the future, and she spends a large amount of time insuring that it will continue.

“I gave money with the thought that this will be ongoing,” said Longren, who plans on having her memorials go to the fund as well. “There is no reason that it will not be around for a long time.”