Millicent Atkins, who was 93 when she died in 2012, left a large amount of money to her alma mater, Northern State University. The school will get around $15 million dollars.
This donation, coupled with two identical donations to Columbia Congregational Church UCC and University of Minnesota-Twins Cities put Atkins at number 50 on the list for the top American philanthropists of 2013.
Atkins chose donating to NSU because it is where she earned her teaching degree in 1940. She taught for a little while, but then she pursued farming and investing in land, something she learned from her father. When she passed, she had no family to pass on her wealth.
Atkins did request that the money given to NSU be used towards the School of Education. NSU plans to use the money for several things, including increasing WolfPact Scholarship amounts for Education majors.
"We're talking about extending the WolfPact to what we call a WolfPact plus with a little bit of extra money for primary and elementary education," said NSU President James Smith.
They also plan to use some money to enhance the student-teaching program. They plan to offer full year student teaching programs, so students spend more time in the classroom with a teacher before being on their own.
Additional housing assistance to some student-teachers also may be in the works. Education majors look forward to this.
"When student teaching, we can't have actual jobs because all our time is spent student teaching, so having that money there to help us would be so beneficial," said NSU education major Rebecca Swier.
The $15 million will be granted to NSU over the next 10 years. NSU plans to name the School of Education after Millicent Atkins.