Nelson event raises $11,000 for scholarship

Published 7:06 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An endowed scholarship is being created in remembrance of one of Riverland Community College’s shining stars.

More than $11,000 was raised during “A Shining Star, Katie Nelson Remembered,” a benefit held at the college last month to raise money for an endowment in Nelson’s name.

The funds will be invested by the Riverland Foundation, allowing the interest to fund the scholarship indefinitely.

Nelson, 29, a theater major from Riverland and Minnesota State University, Mankato, was months away from completing her massage therapy degree at Riverland when she died suddenly of a brain tumor last year.

The scholarship will be awarded to theater and massage therapy students at Riverland.

“I’m overwhelmed by how generous everyone was,” said Jerry Girton, theater director at Riverland Community College. “I guess that tells us how many people Katie knew and touched in her short life.”

During the benefit, people who had worked with Nelson shared songs and stories honoring many of her past roles and performances. Piggy Blues sold gelato and the Coffee House on Main sold coffee, with all proceeds going to the endowment. A silent auction featured donations from area businesses, individuals and organizations.

Piggy Blues also offered 10 percent of their Feb. 26 and 27 sales from their restaurant to the Katie Nelson Remembered endowment.

Girton said that donations are still coming to him daily.

“The best part is that many future students will benefit by this endowment for years to come. Katie would have liked that,” Girton said.

To donate to the Katie Nelson Remembered endowment, make checks payable to Riverland Foundation–KNR and send it to Riverland Community College, ATTN: Jerry Girton, 1600 8th Avenue NW, Austin, MN 55912.

To create a similar endowment to fund a specific purpose, contact the Riverland Foundation at 433-0630.

The Riverland Community College Foundation raises, manages, and distributes resources to support, enhance, and promote educational opportunities.