Wisconsin businessman finances three classes of college students
On the first day of school at Luck High School in Luck, Wis., Principal Brad Werner announced at a schoolwide assembly that all of the 34 graduating students who want to attend technical college will receive full funding from local bank owner Dennis Frandsen. This is the second time Frandsen has paid for students in small towns to attend technical college. Frandsen’s funding will cover tuition and books.
Luck, a small town of a little over 1,000 people located in northeast Wisconsin, was where the 85-year-old Frandsen grew up on a dairy farm. His first business, a lumber yard, opened in Luck in 1951. Frandsen now employs over 1,000 people across multiple states in the Midwest, making him a self-made millionaire.
According to Luck High School principal Brad Werner, Frandsen wanted to provide scholarships for vocational schools because “there are already a lot of scholarship opportunities for students headed to four-year schools. There is also a shortage of skilled workers like electricians and plumbers.”
This is not the first time Frandsen has changed students’ lives. In 2017 Frandsen pledged to pay for any of the 59 graduating students in Rush City, Minn. to attend a two-year college. Rush City, a small town near the border of Wisconsin, is where Frandsen owns and operates more branches of his company, Frandsen Corporation. He is currently financing Rush City High School’s graduating class to attend Pine City Technical and Community College in Pine City, Minnesota, just north of Ruch City. He has made the same pledge again for this year’s senior class of 2019.
In an interview with Minnesota’s KARE 11, Frandsen explained he was inspired after watching high school graduations and realizing that many college scholarships only go to the top students. “What about the average student?” he asked. “Are we just going to forget about them?[…] I thought it was the right thing to do. I was able to do it, so why shouldn’t I?” Frandsen has also started the Frandsen Family Foundation to help pay college tuitions for students in small towns. Frandsen himself was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, and neither of his parents had been able to attend high school.
Back in Luck, Wis., morale is high. Werner feels that “the scholarship offer has also motivated underclassmen to buckle down in case they get a similar opportunity.” There will be a parent meeting at the high school next month to provide more information to the public.
Sources: CNN, KARE11