Daniel R. Mortensen Family Scholarship in the College of Business

The purpose of the Daniel R. Mortensen Family Scholarship in the College of Business is to encourage and support first generation students in the College of Business who demonstrate commitment and drive academically, as well as those students who value the experiences and opportunities higher education can bring to their lives.


1. Each recipient must be a first generation college student (a student who is the first in their family to attend and graduate from a 4 year college or university).
2. Each recipient must be accepted and enrolled full-time (minimum 12 credits per semester) and in good standing at Winona State University.
3. Each recipient must be working toward a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Business Management or Economics within the College of Business.
4. Each recipient must be a sophomore, junior or senior.
5. Each recipient must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher (note: preference shall be given to a student with a 3.25 or higher GPA).
6. Each recipient must demonstrate financial need; financial need will not be based solely on FAFSA (i.e. a student working their way through college).
7. Preference will be given to a student who demonstrates strong work ethic (working to help pay for college expenses (holidays, weekends, odd jobs). Emphasis: a student who understands the value of education and is willing to work to achieve their academic goals.
8. Preference will be given to a student who is involved in campus and/or community activities beyond the classroom (a student who demonstrates leadership skills).
9. As part of the application process for this scholarship, the student must submit an essay describing the following:
a. Value of higher education from a first generation perspective.
b. Evidence of hard work and dedication.


Dan, a native of Pipestone, Minnesota, came to Winona State University in the fall of 1975, after graduating that spring from Pipestone High School. From a young age, Dan earned spending money and began saving for college by performing many different jobs, both during the school year and in the summer. While in high school, Dan worked as a janitor and later, as a sales associate, at the local J.C. Penney store. There, he worked in the mornings before school, on weekends, during school vacations, and on nights when the store was open. Dan participated in baseball, football, chorus, student council and was named to the National Honor Society as a senior. Dan graduated in the top 7% of his class.

Dan attended Winona State from 1975 to 1979, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Economics. During the summer and holiday vacations, he worked as a plumber and in road construction, in order to pay for his college expenses. With his degree from Winona State, he became the first college graduate in his family.

After graduating from Winona State, Dan earned a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of South Dakota, graduating in 1980. With the help of a scholarship and numerous student loans, Dan paid 100% of the expenses he incurred while earning both his BS and MBA degrees.

Dan then embarked on a 33-year career in business. He began as a management consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co. and later, McGladrey & Pullen. Transitioning to the financial services industry, Dan worked in management with Citibank and Household Credit Services, and later as an executive with General Electric and Capital One. For seven years, Dan was a member of the MasterCard International Operations Committee, representing Capital One. He retired from Capital One in 2013 as a Senior Vice President.

Wishing to make a greater impact in the world, or at least in Virginia, Dan accepted an offer to become Executive Director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching economics and personal finance to Virginia’s K-12 students, providing them with essential life skills they will need to succeed, regardless of their future vocation. While working at Capital One, Dan had served on the VCEE Board of Directors, as well as the Boards of other nonprofit organizations in Virginia. Since 2010, Dan has served on the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees, and he was the Chairman of the Board from 2012-2014.

While attending Winona State, Dan developed a love for business administration and economics.
He credits the small class sizes and his professors (which included Dr. Donald Salyards and
Dr. Marvin Wolfmeyer) with providing an environment conducive to learning and the inspiration
to succeed. My four years at Winona State were invaluable in terms of the quality of the
education I received and the enthusiasm I gained for business and economics. It opened up a
whole new world of possibilities for me. While attending graduate school and eventually working
for large corporations, I always felt that the education I had received at WSU prepared me very
well and was second to none. I really enjoyed my time in Winona and believe that Winona State
University helped me establish a firm foundation for a successful career in business. Because of my success and my love of Winona State, I would like to help deserving students earn a degree from WSU and pursue a career in business.

Daniel R. Mortensen Family Scholarship in the College of Business
College of Business
Supplemental Questions
  1. Please submit an essay describing the value of higher education from a first generation perspective.
  2. Please submit an essay showing evidence of your handwork and dedication.
  3. Please submit an essay describing past and present accomplishments related to community service and your personal volunteer goals.