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Batchelder donates to BSU Foundation

Pictured from left are BSU President Dr. Richard A. Hanson; Rob Bollinger, executive director, BSU Foundation; and Ron Batchelder.

The Bemidji State University Foundation recently accepted a $200,000 donation from lifelong Bemidji resident Ron Batchelder to establish the Ron Batchelder Scholarship Endowment Fund, the foundation said Monday. The gift will provide ongoing scholarships to junior or senior students majoring in economics, nursing or business who demonstrate financial need.

Batchelder said he created this scholarship to assist young people in achieving their educational goals, to help them succeed and make their own contributions, according to a foundation press release.

 “I wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” Batchelder said in the release. “This is the right time and the right place.”

Batchelder attended BSU for one year before serving four years in the Air Force during the Korean War. When he returned to Bemidji, he and his brother, Ira “Sonny” Batchelder, joined their father working in the family business, The Bemidji Woolen Mills, which they built over the next 40 years, according to the release.

In their time with the company, Bemidji Woolen Mills moved its retail operation from a small, downtown storefront to the larger retail space used today.

“Ron is a wonderful example of the many generous donors who recognize Bemidji State’s significance to our community and our region,” BSU President Dr. Richard Hanson said in the release. “Leadership like this is very important.”

For more information on BSU alumni or the foundation, visit