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Students Earn Scholarships Honoring Pioneering Woman


Eight Minnesota students recently received the American Indian Ethel Curry Scholarship for academic excellence, awarded by the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation (MAEF) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education, the department announced.

“It is an honor to recognize these deserving students for their academic excellence,” said Ruthe Batulis, chair of the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation. “I commend these students and wish them continued success as they continue to advance their academic endeavors and pursue fulfilling careers. May these students continue to honor the legacy of Ethel Curry.”

According to her friends, Ms. Curry was a warm and sociable person, with compassion particularly for American Indian people. Her tremendous wealth, which was not disclosed to her family, was attained through successful investments in Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M).

According to her niece, Jeanne Angel, Ms. Curry lived simply and frugally, without television or telephone, but was a lifelong scholar who read scientific journals well into her last years.

She was born in Hixton, Wisconsin, near Black River Falls, in 1888. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1914 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and biology. After graduation, Ms. Curry was accepted to two medical schools, but did not attend either because of health considerations. She worked for nearly 40 years as a surgical secretary for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, before retiring in 1953. On March 24, 1995, Ethel Curry died at the age of 107.

The 2008 Ethel Curry scholars:

  • Carly Beane, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Flandreau Santee Sioux
  • Katie Cannon, University of Minnesota – School of Medicine, White Earth Scholarship Office
  • Dawn DeVeau, White Earth Tribal and Community College, Bois Forte Chippewa
  • Peter Drift, Bemidji State University, Bois Forte Chippewa
  • Rebekah Fineday, St. Cloud State University, Leech Lake Scholarship Office
  • Brule Greene, Argosy University, Leech Lake Scholarship Office
  • Tonette Harding, College of St. Scholastica, Bois Forte Chippewa
  • Delana Smith, Bemidji State University, Red Lake Scholarship Office

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Education Website at

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