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Top Aggies Named at Northwest School Reunion at the U of M Crookston on Sat., June 28, 2008
July 3, 2008

Contact: Corby Kemmer, director, alumni & development, 218-281-8434 (ckemmer@umn.edu), Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)


Seated l to r: Charles Vind. ’48; Karen Good, ’68 Standing: Ray Anderson, ’58; Wallace Sparby, ex. 53; Corby Kemmer, director, Development & Alumni Relations
Seated l to r: Charles Vind. ’48; Karen Good, ’68 Standing: Ray Anderson, ’58; Wallace Sparby, ex. 53; Corby Kemmer, director, Development & Alumni Relations
Crookston, Minn. (July 3, 2008) – On Friday and Saturday, June 27-28, the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) welcomed back alumni to University of Minnesota, Crookston campus for their annual reunion. Four outstanding alumni were recognized with the Top Aggie award. The 2008 Top Aggies are Charles Vind, ’48, Fertile, Minn.; Wallace Sparby, ex. ‘53; Thief River Falls, Minn.; Ray Anderson, ’58, East Grand Forks, Minn.; and Karen Good, ’68, Red Lake, Minn. The Top Aggie award is the highest honor a Northwest School alumnus can receive.

The NWSA was a residential high school located on the campus from 1906-68. The reunion weekend is planned by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations in cooperation with the NWSA Alumni Association board and is always held the last weekend in June.

Honorees for 2008 include:

Charles Vind, ‘48
After graduation from the Northwest School of Agriculture in 1948, Charles Vind spent two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and 20 years in the National Guard serving in both Minnesota and California.

From 1959-70, Vind and his wife, Merna, lived in Salinas, Cal., where he worked as a foreman for Streater Store Fixtures. In 1970, They purchased the locker plant in Fertile, Minn., and they operated it for 14 years. Vind worked for 15 years as an employee of the Fair Meadow Nursing Home in Fertile.

The Vinds raised five children and have 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Two of his children and one of his grandchildren attended the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Vind also served as a member of the NWSA Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Over the years, Vind has served and held office in numerous organizations including Fertile Community Club, Fertile Conservation Club, Fertile Lions, American Legion, VFW, Fertile Veterans Memorial Committee, and many more. He was honored as Fertile’s Citizen of the Year in 1982, and in 2007, the Vinds were honored as Experienced Americans in Crookston. 

Wallace Sparby, ex. 53
Wallace Sparby went on after graduating from high school to attend Bemidji State University and then farmed for a number of years. He served as the county director for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, known today as the Farm Service Agency, for Stevens County and Pennington County in Minnesota. In 1993, he became the state director.

In 1982, Sparby was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and served 11 years. Presently, he works for Congressman Collin Peterson as a staff member specializing in agricultural issues. Over the years, Sparby has served on the church council at Zion Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls; six of those years he served as president. He is also a member of the Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Lions, Elks, Eagles and the Sons of Norway. He also serves on the Northwest Medical Center Board in Thief River Falls and the board of directors for Ag Country Farm Credit Services in Fargo, N.D. Sparby and his wife, Ione, have been married for 51 years and raised four children and have eight grandchildren. 

Ray Anderson, ‘58
Ray Anderson was a part of every music group at the Northwest School of Agriculture. He even served as student band director at basketball games. Anderson often wonders if he hadn’t been a part of the mixed octet if he would have ever met his wife, Elaine Wold ‘57, to whom he has been married 49 years. After graduation, Anderson engaged in a career in agriculture.

Over the years, Anderson was involved in church, serving on many boards and singing in the choir. He served as clerk of the township board and in the American Legion. For 12 years, he was with the American Crystal Growers Association of the East Grand Forks district. He was a member of the American Crystal Sugar Board and that position took him all over the United States, Canada and Europe.

Karen Good, ‘68
As a member of the last graduating class of the Northwest School of Agriculture in 1968, Karen Good recalls her time on campus as challenging and rewarding. She credits her success in later years to some of the good educational foundation she received at the Northwest School.

Good has influenced the lives of countless students in the Red Lake Public Schools as a science teacher in both the middle grades and as part of the Alternative Learning Center. Her life keeps her on the road, traveling between the four communities of the Reservation: Little Rock, Red Lake, Ponemah, and Redby.

Founder of Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue, Good has devoted herself to helping solve the overpopulation of companion animals. This work includes the rescue, sheltering and placement of animals on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

For her work, Good received the Kodiak Award in 2007 from Friends of Flicka, an organization in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., metro area working in the animal world. She was awarded $5,000 to help her in her efforts to rescue animals. Karen was also nominated for KARE TV 11 “Woman of the Year” for 2007.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.