By Kristin Johnson
For Yvonne Condell, giving back is something she’s always felt called to do. It’s paying “civic rent” as she calls it, a way to make up for the resources she’s used along the way and to help out others as she has been helped. She has made a point to give back to many organizations over the years, but for her, Minnesota State University Moorhead holds a special place in her heart.
Yvonne and her husband James came to the Fargo-Moorhead area over 60 years ago. They both became professors at MSUM – she in biology, and he in psychology. James retired in 1992 and passed away in 1998, and Yvonne retired in 1995. Though she did not grow up here, does not have family in the area, and had numerous opportunities to change jobs and move away, Yvonne chose to stay. She found a home at MSUM and loves the community in which she lives.
Since retirement, Yvonne has resided on a number of boards across the country. She lives by three principles of equity, fairness and justice, and tries to make an impact in any way she can. She also heads up the retired faculty group on the MSUM campus, which gets together for coffee and other social outings. “It’s an opportunity for us to get to know each other better and it permits us to continue the congeniality we expressed when we were faculty members,” she said.
With the cost of a college education today and rising number of student loans, Yvonne thinks it’s especially important to give money to scholarship funds. “The more financial help they can receive, the better off they will be,” she said. Because of this, Yvonne and her husband started The James and Yvonne Condell Scholarship in 1992. Each year, this endowed fund helps students with the cost of attending college and has a lasting impact on their future.
In addition to starting a scholarship, Yvonne is a member of the MSUM Foundation’s Legacy Society, having designated MSUM as a beneficiary in her estate plans. She wants to lead by example and hopes other faculty and staff will consider starting their own scholarship fund, estate gift, or donate in another way of their choosing. “I really encourage them to give whatever then can,” she said. “It’s important to make an effort to give back to the university that gave us so much.”