Hill-Murray receives $3 million scholarship fund in remembrance of graduate

Mark C. Nyman, pictured in his senior year at Hill High School.

submitted photo • The Mark. C. Nyman Scholarship was established with the help of Jeanne Nyman in memory of her late husband. She’s pictured above with Hill-Murray President Jim Hansen. According to Jeanne, Nyman, a member of the Hill High School class of 1969, suffered from severe asthma as a child, but was an adventurer at heart. Despite illness, he persistently lived life to its fullest, as a child and as an adult. In addition to developing a successful business career in the medical field, Nyman became a world traveler, scuba diver and sail boat captain.

Maplewood’s Hill-Murray School recently received a $3 million gift, the second largest it has ever received, which will be used as a scholarship fund to help support 20 students each year.

The scholarship was established in honor of Mark C. Nyman, a 1969 graduate of Hill High School, the precursor to today’s Hill-Murray.

Nyman grew up in Oakdale and on the East Side of St. Paul, and after graduating from high school he studied at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. He developed a successful career as a businessman in the medical field, working for Medtronic and Boston Scientific where he was a pioneer in treating cardiac arrhythmias with implantable devices.

Nyman died Sept. 6, 2017, from complications following a double lung transplant he received ten years ago for a hereditary lung disease. He was 66.

Nyman’s wife, Jeanne, said that the idea for the scholarship began before her husband’s death because he wanted to continue to give back, even after he was gone. She said that while they were sitting outside on their deck discussing possible causes to support, one of Nyman’s friends from high school called, sparking the idea.

“His eyes lit up and it just hit. It was just such a perfect idea,” Jeanne said.


Life-changing education

She explained that her husband felt that Hill High School provided him a very important education, laying the groundwork for his later success at the University of Minnesota and in business. Additionally, he met most of his close friends while attending Hill High School.

“He just felt like education was super important and that it was a great place to receive an education,” Jeanne said.

She said her husband did not have much financial help when he was a student, and as an adult he strongly believed that if he could help a few kids get a little further along with their education, that the world would be a better place. She added that it was also very important to him to continue supporting students financially into college.


The Mark C. Nyman Scholarship

Each year there will be four students who receive a scholarship from each high school grade level, ninth through 12th, as well as scholarships for four Hill-Murray graduates attending their first year of college.

Chris Zupfer, vice president of development at Hill-Murray, explained that each year 20 students will receive $6,000 towards tuition, totaling $120,000 in scholarship funds. Zupfer said that the fund won’t run out of money because each year the school will only be using four percent of the total gift, allowing the rest of the balance to accrue interest, which will sustain the annual awards.

The students who are chosen by Hill-Murray staff and a committee to receive the scholarships will automatically be enrolled in the scholarship the following year as long as they continue to meet its requirements, so a high school freshman would receive $6,000 of aid each of the four years of high school as well as for his or her first year of college.

The criteria for beneficiaries of the scholarship include demonstrating a need for the assistance, maintaining a B-grade average, a commitment to volunteering and completion of an essay. Preference will also be given to students who have an interest in pursuing a career in the medical field.

“This [scholarship] will ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of the changing demographics around the school,” Zupfer said. “It’s critical to helping us provide a pathway to Pioneers who might otherwise not be able to afford school, and I feel like that brings a richness of students to the school with a diversity of thought and background.”


– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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