New names on the MCTC Science Center building belong to longtime friends of the college: Carolyn and Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg. Nearly a hundred friends, family and community members gathered in the newly dedicated Ackerberg Science Center on November 23 to honor the life, legacy and gift made on behalf of Sandy.
“This is a thankful time all around the country,” said MCTC Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Mike Christenson, “and it’s a particularly thankful week at MCTC.” The dedication took place a few days before Thanksgiving.
The MCTC Foundation received a generous $1 million gift from Carolyn Ackerberg in memory of her late husband Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg, who served and led the MCTC Foundation and helped lay the groundwork for what MCTC is today. Among the largest gifts in MCTC Foundation history, this donation will be used to fund scholarships and provide resources for students in need. In gratitude, the College named its Science Center for the Ackerbergs.
“Scholarships give college students the gift of time,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail O’Kane. “There is no greater gift to students.”
Sandy served on the MCTC Foundation Board of Directors for a decade and was Board President from 1986–1988. It was Sandy’s belief in the potential of all persons, and his commitment to education, that led him to serve MCTC, leading fundraising efforts and spearheading the Foundation’s first capital campaign.
A graduate of North High School, Sandy served the United States during WWII, and came home to enroll at the University of Minnesota. After earning his degree in architecture in 1949, he launched a long and highly respected career as an architect and real estate developer. For more than 35 years, Carolyn and Sandy worked together managing commercial and multi-housing real estate properties.
Sandy passed away in 2009. Since then, Carolyn has kept Sandy’s passion for MCTC students alive.
The dedication was attended by a rounded sample of community members, well-wishers and past and present employees. Attendees included former MCTC President Phil Davis, champion of the tuition relief program Power of YOU and leader of the 2009 capital funding campaign to redesign and upgrade the Science Center; Foundation Board President Harry Davis, Jr.; State Senator Scott Dibble who represents MCTC’s community and has been described as one of the foremost leaders of civil rights in the state; five MCTC students who received Ackerberg Science Scholarships; former Executive Director of the MCTC Foundation Reede Webster who led the Foundation at the time of the Ackerbergs’ donation; and many others.
“I guarantee if you invest in MCTC, you’ll get the best return on your investment,” said Foundation Board President Harry Davis, Jr.
The Science Center is, itself, an engineering wonder. Opened in 2009, the Center was built over and around buildings purchased from businesses adjacent to campus. A dedicated team of architects, designers, engineers and College faculty agreed on an open, airy design for the building’s interior spaces, and a striking glass façade on the exterior front. The building contains energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems, and was constructed with careful attention to waste production, recycling potential and landfill avoidance.
“Your gift, Carolyn, extends far beyond money,” said Astronomy Instructor Parke Kunkle, noting that the dedication fell on the 100 year anniversary of Albert Einstein’s presentation of his theory of relativity. “We’re excited to see the ripples you’ve created in the fabric of our lives.”
“I’m honored to be here on behalf of my beloved husband Sandy,” said Carolyn Ackerberg. “Although we all prefer that he be here himself, his gift is intended to provide the means for future generations of students and graduates to be successful. If we can eliminate just this one barrier for students, it may mean the difference in their educations and their lives.”