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Giving Matters: Jim Engberg '85



When the school district closed Morgan Park High School in 1982, school officials assumed all the students would transfer to Denfeld, but alumnus Jim Engberg’s ‘85 parents had a different idea. Although the Engbergs were Lutheran and of limited means, they elected to enroll Jim at Cathedral, a school that did not even offer swimming, his favorite sport.

“I was intimidated to join a predominantly Catholic community I didn’t know, and I was a bit scared of the nuns, but that all changed immediately. It was such a happy place and everyone was treated equally by the teachers,” recalled Engberg. “Larry Weber, Michael Feda, Frank Napoli, Sister Cecilia, Chico Anderson, and Dave Homstad—those teachers weren’t there for the money; they were there for us. When you entered a classroom, it was like walking into a room in your own house.”

Engberg knew his parents sacrificed to meet the cost of tuition. His father was an accountant and his mother owned a beauty shop and was on her feet seven hours a day, six days a week. Engberg lost his father in 1995, so when his mother and step-father passed away in 2015, he was inspired to leave a legacy, creating scholarships at Marshall School and at UMD. He hopes his scholarship

will enable more families to access a Marshall education, knowing that his years at Cathedral brought him happiness and fulfillment.

Jim feels fortunate to have been successful in his adult life but finds he “only needs as much as he needs” and, therefore, also intends to remember Marshall in his estate plan as well. His rationale is quite simple: He wants to provide students with an experience similar to his for years to come.

“There was never a day I didn’t want to go to school,” added Engberg. “The building was always cold and the roof leaked everywhere back then, but it was also a place of great warmth and happiness.”

To make a gift to Marshall School’s Annual Fund, please use the enclosed envelope or visit learn more about establishing an endowed scholarship or making an estate gift contact Jennifer Berry at or 218-727-7266 x113.

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