The Westonka District 277 Foundation was able to award $110,000 in scholarships to Mound Westonka graduates in May, 2019, thanks to positive performance of its Endowment Funds. Five seniors were awarded the Colonel Brown Memorial Scholarship. They are Grace Elling (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities) , Sarah Jenkins (Aveda Institute, Minneapolis), Lauren Lachenmayer (College of Biological Services - University of Minnesota), Leandra O’Connell (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire), and Homesh (Navin) Thakurdial (Carlson School of Management - University of Minnesota).

The funds for these scholarships were made available by an endowment from Colonel William Brown, a graduate of Mound High School in 1938. He was an active member of his high school class, and went on to have a distinguished career in the military, joining the U.S. Army in 1941 and serving as a pilot in both WWII and the Korean War. Colonel Brown passed away on September 30, 2015, and in his will, he generously gifted this community $1.3 million to go toward student scholarships.

The Westonka District 277 Foundation was designated to oversee and award the funds, this being the second year these scholarships have been awarded. Additionally, two scholarships were awarded from an endowment to the Foundation from the estate of Bill Gillespie, a long time supporter of education and the Foundation. The recipients of these scholarships were Mara Gomez-Gonzalez (St. Catherine’s - St. Paul) and Ela Springer (Colorado School of Mines - Golden, Colorado).

Aside from its endowed scholarship program, each year the Foundation needs to raise funds to support its grant program to benefit all the students in the Westonka Schools. In response to staff requests, the Foundation grants funds annually for many projects which enrich and enhance learning opportunities beyond what is covered by the district budget. Tax deductible donations can be sent to: Westonka District #277 Foundation, P.O. Box 370, Mound, MN 55364 or donations can be made via our website at

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