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Honorary Doctorates to be Awarded
Al, Cathy Annexstad to receive honorary doctorate degrees Saturday.
Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-2-2012
Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato will award honorary doctorate degrees to Al Annexstad and his wife, Cathy, of Owatonna, Minn., during the University’s 3 p.m. spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5 in Bresnan Arena of Taylor Center.
Al Annexstad will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree, while Cathy Annexstad will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
An honorary degree is the highest honor Minnesota State Mankato can bestow and is reserved for persons who have made exceptional contributions to a specific field or to society in general. Honorary degree recipients are selected through a nomination process established by the University consistent with the policy of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and subject to recommendation by the president, consultation with the faculty and approval by the chancellor.
Al Annexstad graduated from Mankato State College with a degree in social studies in 1967. He attended Mankato State to become a teacher and basketball coach, but instead was recruited to join Federated Insurance Companies. He began a lifelong career, starting as a marketing representative in his hometown of St. Peter, Minn., receiving multiple promotions until assuming his current role as the company’s chairman.
As leader of Federated Insurance, he has developed a long-standing and far-reaching relationship with Minnesota State Mankato that has benefited students, alumni, and the citizens of Minnesota. The organization’s extensive scholarship program makes significant awards annually to multiple students in the University’s College of Business and College of Science, Engineering and Technology, as well as student athletes.
Approximately 10 percent of the Federated Insurance Companies’ employees are Minnesota State Mankato alumni. It ranks annually as one of the top hiring employers of the University’s new graduates.
Cathy Annexstad was the inspiration behind the 2000 establishment of the Annexstad Family Foundation, which offers scholarships at several colleges and universities for students who have been served by the youth mentoring organization Big Brothers Big Sisters. To date, the foundation has awarded over 200 scholarships to deserving students, including 18 at Minnesota State Mankato, thus enabling these students to attend college as free from debt as possible.
She and Al have worked in partnership to raise money for youth mentoring in Minnesota. Since 2005, the Federated Challenge has raised over $20 million for the “Kids of Minnesota.” It is one of the state’s largest and most efficient charities, with nearly 100 percent of the funds raised going to help deserving young people have a better chance in life.
After experiencing the impact of mentoring firsthand, the Annexstads resolved to help provide the children of Minnesota with the same positive support they received growing up in southern Minnesota.
Together and through Federated Insurance, the Annexstads have made significant contributions to Minnesota State Mankato.
Minnesota State Mankato has awarded just three previous honorary degrees since the University was established in 1868 as Mankato Normal School. Those included an honorary doctor of laws degree to Glen Taylor in 1996; an honorary doctor of laws degree to Lowell Andreas in 2004 and an honorary doctor of fine arts degree to Nadine Andreas in 2004.
More information about the Minnesota State Mankato spring commencement is at www.mnsu.edu/graduation/.
Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,649 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.