Giving to the Max

Kathryn and Kurt Carlson

Kathryn and Kurt Carlson are not only graduates of the University of Minnesota; they are big boosters, too. Kurt earned his DDS from the School of Dentistry in 1980 and Kathryn earned her MBA from the Carlson School of Management.

Even though they are now retired—Kathryn from the Carlson School where she worked for 38 years, most recently as Assistant Dean of the School’s MBA programs, and Dr. Carlson from his Rosemount dental practice where he worked as partner, owner and president for 36+ years—the Carlson’s continue to support the University, particularly the School of Dentistry. 

Together, they donate to the School of Dentistry Alumni Scholarship Fund each year. In 2020, they played a key role in raising record contributions for the School on Minnesota’s annual Give to the Max Day. 

Kathryn and Kurt Carlson
Kathryn and Kurt Carlson

Held each November, Give to the Max Day (GTMD) is a special 24-hour period during which generous Minnesotans give what they can to support the causes and organizations that mean the most to them.

“Because of COVID, my class of 1980 felt it best not to hold our 40th reunion in 2020, so instead of celebrating our accomplishments together in person as we had hoped, Kathryn and I came up with the idea of using this opportunity to hold a virtual fundraiser for the School of Dentistry instead,” said Dr. Carlson.

So, they contacted the School’s development team for ideas on what sort of gift might be both meaningful and impactful. With their support, the Carlsons settled on establishing a $10,000 match for the day of giving.

They recruited fellow classmates to contribute to the match and help spread the word.

The results of their efforts were impressive: they raised $34,500, an 80% increase in GTMD contributions from 2019 and the largest in the School’s history. 

“I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to give back to the University of Minnesota’s premier School of Dentistry in the region in recognition of the comprehensive education I received,” said Dr. Carlson.  “Giving back is a responsibility my wife and I share, and it gives us pleasure to know that we, along with many of my 1980 DDS classmates, helped the school achieve a record day of giving!”

Giving back to the school is also a way for the Carlsons to honor Kathryn’s father. “My dad was a 1950 graduate of the University of Minnesota, and one of the things he always said was that we needed to take care of the University because it changes the world,” said Kathryn Carlson. “I still totally agree with that and also believe that the scholarships we support change lives.” They both believe this is their way of paying it forward.  

Gifts from the statewide day of giving have a profound and immediate impact on vital School of Dentistry initiatives including scholarships, technology, community outreach and research. Learn how you can support the School of Dentistry on this year’s Give to the Max Day, which takes place on November 18. Online gifts made on that day to the Dental School Scholarships Fund will be matched by the Class of 1981 in honor of their 40th graduation year. 

Give to the Max Day contributions and matches are just one way of supporting University of Minnesota students. If you are interested in learning more about such contributions or other ways you can support our students, please contact Emily Best ([email protected] or 612-625-6811).