Scholarship chapel 2017

Written by: Kristine Bommersbach

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Matt Myrick, Oak Hills Christian College’s financial aid director began the 2017/2018 Oak Hills Scholarship chapel with a thank-you to all the generous supporters:

“ Today we are publically announcing and celebrating scholarship awards that have been given by individuals, families and businesses who believe in the education at Oak Hills  enough to generously support our students in a direct and tangible way.  To all of the donors and those who are standing in as representatives, and on behalf of the college I want to humbly and sincerely say thank-you!”

He then went on to give a strong reminder to students:  

“ The scholarship you are receiving isn’t something you are entitled to.  This isn’t like a Pell grant where the FAFSA dictates what you get. This scholarship is someone else being really nice and helping you pay for school.”

Scholarships Awarded:

Art Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Art was Virginia Anderson’s beloved husband. He was a church planter with Oak Hills before Oak Hills had a school. He ministered in W. Cohasset and Solway. After Oak Hills Bible Institute began, he moved to the campus and did the music and Old and New Testament Survey Classes.

He developed a philosophy of discipline that exercised grace rather than law. He wanted to work with students as God works with us--- with abundant grace.

Virginia says of their marriage: that we served God better together than we would have been able to apart.  

  • Matt Kessler



Bill Pederson Memorial Scholarship

The Bill Pederson Memorial Scholarship is granted in memory of William (Bill) Pederson.  When Pastor Bill took his final promotion in 1992, he was serving as the pastor of Grace Chapel near Bagley, MN as well as a volunteer "Pastor to Pastors" with Oak Hills Christian College.  He had previously pastored 20 years each in Waukesha Bible Church in suburban Milwaukee, WI and Chippewa Valley Bible Church in Chippewa Falls, WI.  His wife Ruby was a volunteer staff in the Oak Hills library for 18 years following Bill's death.  Pastor Bill is buried in the Oak Hills private cemetery.  Bill Pederson's life and ministry was a model for us all.  He was a true shepherd who could relate to both businessmen in suburbia or families in the rural north woods.  The Bill Pederson Memorial Scholarship was established to encourage and mobilize people seeking the Lord's call to pastoral ministry.

  • Mark Sina

David A. Smith Memorial Scholarship

David graduated from Oak Hills in 1958. After a number of years away, Dave was invited to come to Oak Hills as a staff member. He taught at Oak Hills for 10 years and also served as Camp Director, Missions Ministries Director, and Academic Dean. He went on to serve as a pastor in International Falls and Zimmerman, MN before becoming president of Oak Hills Christian College in 1983. He served in that capacity until 1988. For the rest of his life, he served in several churches in northern Minnesota, returned to Oak Hills as an adjunct instructor, Missions Ministries Director, Academic Dean, and Interim President.

Dave went home to be with the Lord in May 2011, but his influence on lives will go on into eternity through the lives that he impacted for Christ. One man wrote to Dave before he died, “Just heard you are getting close to going home to Jesus. Before you go, I want to remind you of the value you have been to my life. You were my first picture of who Jesus was when I was in junior high. You had something I wanted. My life had been full of loneliness, doubt, and guilt.” Through Dave’s influence and a financial gift from Dave’s parents that allowed this young boy to attend Camp Oak Hills, he came to know Christ as Savior. He later came to OHCC as a student where he met his future wife. They went on to 45 years of ministry with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and though now retired, they continue to serve in the local church as volunteers with CEF. He concludes his letter “Thanks for letting Jesus live in and through you! We are some of your trophies to present to the Lord. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

  • Matt Kessler


David D. Ellefson Memorial Scholarship

David Ellefson originally attended Oak Hills as part of an agreement made with his Mom so she would support his marriage proposal to his then high school sweetheart, Lynn.  While he only attended Oak Hills after being coerced by his mother, it ended up having a very important role in the rest of his life.  David went on to have many successes both in business and in life; but he never forgot about his time at Oak Hills and how it shaped who he was.  Over the next thirty years and until the day of his death, Dave served on various Oak Hills boards and remained friends with both faculty and Oak Hills Presidents.  David always looked back on his time spent at Oak Hills as being a pivotal time in his life and when he first developed a personal relationship with his Lord and Savior.  The Ellefson family is happy to be able to present this memorial in Dave’s name with the thought that another student might be blessed to have the same experience as he did.

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  • Joanna Weber
  • Katya Yakovenko
  • Ben Folen
  • Summer Suess
  • Brandon Reller
  • Austin Anderson

Dr. Mildred L. Larson Memorial Scholarship

  • Debbie Kavanagh

Edith Clausen Memorial Scholarship

The Edith Clausen Memorial Scholarship is given in memory of Edith Clausen, the mother of former Oak Hills President, Dan Clausen.  

  • Faith Deppa

Founders Scholarship

In 1925 four men prayed under an oak tree that God would bless them with this land.There is no information available for this scholarship.

  • Dillon Abalos

Fowler Scholarship


  • Joseph Haugen
  • Jordan Lendway
  • Rosa Acker
  • Faith Deppa
  • Whitney Jones
  • Summer Suess
  • Joanna Weber
  • Ben Folen
  • Lucas Ritchie

Frank & Thelma Russell Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is given in memory of Frank & Thelma (Deckard) Russell.  Frank & Thelma were married for 49 years.  They had 2 daughters, Rebecca and Janna, and 10 grandchildren.  Thelma’s favorite things were spending time with her grandchildren, playing word games, and leading Bible studies in the community.  Frank was a ranch hand in Kit Carson, CO until he decided to attend college.  After attending Bryan College in TN and then Wheaton College in IL, Frank & Thelma moved to Bemidji in 1963.  Frank was a pastor at the Solway Log Chapel and Guthrie Community Church.  He was also a faculty member at Oak Hills for 37 years.  Frank was a humble man, and an amazing Greek scholar.  After he had most of the New Testament memorized in Greek, he decided he needed to learn Hebrew, so he sat down and began working his way through the Hebrew Bible.  Frank wore many different hats while at Oak Hills.

  • Joseph Weeks

Gordon and Ella Friesen Family Scholarship

The Friesen’s are a hardworking farm family with five boys. Ella worked as a nurse in Bemidji for many years after her sons had started work. Their boys came to Camp Oak Hills and they knew of OHCC as a quality place for a long time before establishing this scholarship. Since then, Gordon has passed away but sweet Ella lives in Bemidji. Though in her 80s, she is still seeking ways to share Scripture with her neighbors.

  • Daniel Kosinski
  • Faith Deppa

Jutta Goetz Scholarship

Vance & Tanja Corrington presented  this scholarship.

  • Alexis Folen

Kenneth J. Wold Scholarship

After 42 years of faithful service at Oak Hills, Kenneth J. Wold retired in May 2010. During his career, he led concerts in over 1250 churches and many other less conventional locations. He masterminded 40 Christmas Festivals and traveled thousands of miles on dozens of choir tours.

Even though Kenneth’s expertise is in music, his influence and mentoring go far beyond music theory and choral conducting. His example of worshipping and serving God has inspired and blessed hundreds of students and staff members.

This scholarship is given to commemorate and celebrate the life and ministry of Mr. Wold.

  • Aiden Gosiak

Laureen Vogel Memorial Scholarship

Laureen Vogel had many connections to Oak Hills Christian College.  She was a student at Oak Hills in 1959-60.  She married and lived nearby the school, and as her family was growing up, Laureen came on staff for several years.  Two of her sons and a granddaughter attended Oak Hills.  Laureen also served on the Board of Directors for Oak Hills.  She was an intelligent and kind woman known for her beautiful flower garden, for quilting and sewing.  Laureen was a women’s Bible study leader for over 20 years.  This memorial scholarship was established by her family.

  • Rosa Acker

Mildred Sandwick Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is given by Oak Hills alum, Rita Sandwick in memory of her mom, Mildred Sandwick who died at the age of 96.  Mildred had 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.  She loved to travel.  She also loved music, playing piano and singing.  She often hummed as she worked.  Mildred had a quiet faith but you knew where she stood in her relationship with God.  Some of her favorite things were making holiday meals for her family, working hard both on the farm and as a business owner, gardening, and sewing.  Mildred lived out Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed…”

  • Alexis Folen

Ray Born Memorial Scholarship

Ray was the adopted son of Wayne and Lois Born. Lois and her husband are former staff members of Oak Hills. Ray was a student here from 1970-72. He married Kristi Fredrickson in 1974. Just four years later, he was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Ray’s time at Oak Hills were very important to him in his spiritual growth and in many other ways.  Friendships were formed which continue with his family to their day.

Ray’s family wanted to provide a scholarship for those who are going into full time ministry. Their hope is that students will have every opportunity to learn, to live, and to tell the story of salvation so that many souls will be led to Christ. The initial scholarship fund was provided by his uncle, Keith Born.

  • Lucas Ritchie


Robert (Bob) Lorence Scholarship

Our son, Bobby, graduated from Oak Hills with a degree in youth ministry.  Our loss of Bobby at age 26 was devastating to our family, but we have always been so thankful to have had Oak Hills as part of his life and our lives.  Bobby was outgoing and made great friendships with both students and staff.  His heart was big and he felt compassion for many, but especially for children.  His outreach work while at Oak Hills involved Native American youth and we know that he made a difference in their lives.  We also know that today’s recipient will strive, as did Bobby, in making the world better than it would otherwise be.  (Thoughts from Dave & Sue Lorence, Bobby’s parents)

  • Sam Wolkoff
  • Mark Sina

Ruth Frances (RF) Bruen Memorial Scholarship

Mr. Bruen was a man who vacationed in northern Minnesota.  He became acquainted with Oak Hills through the Old Scenic Chapel in the Bigfork-Effie area.  During the period Mr. Robert (Bob) Thompson was president at Oak Hills, Mr. Bruen desired to make some long-lasting contributions.  He provided the Prayer Chapel in memory of his son, Thomas (Frederick Bruen).  His intent was that there would be a spot for private prayer somewhere on campus, a place that would allow individuals to get away to meet with the Lord.  He also set up the Ruth Frances Bruen Memorial Scholarship in memory of his wife, Ruth.

  • Brandon Reller
  • Alexis Folen

Ruth Hurlbert Memorial Scholarship

Oak Hills alumni, Kion & Eileen Hoffman established the Ruth Hurlbert Scholarship in honor of Eileen's mom, Ruth Hurlbert.  (This scholarship will usually be presented by a member of the Hoffman family.)

  • Cassidy Mabe

Selah Solveig Jensen Memorial Scholarship

First and foremost, Selah Jensen loved Jesus Christ with all her heart.

She was a sweet, people-loving girl who was homeschooled through the seventh grade. She was a musician, dancer, and writer. In eighth grade, Selah went to public school and although she thought many times that she would have preferred to be home schooled, she decided to stay in the public school because she felt it was her mission field. And it really was…her family and friends know of many people whose lives were changed eternally because of Selah’s life.

When she was sixteen, Selah and her older sister Melody were going to ballet class after school, but because of a heavy snowstorm, they decided to head home instead. As they rounded a corner, they hit black ice, slid into the wrong lane, and a school bus hit them. Their small car was ripped into 3 pieces. Melody miraculously suffered only a cracked rib and chipped tooth, but Selah had serious internal injuries. After 10 days and multiple surgeries, Selah went home to Jesus.

She had planned to come to Oak Hills when she was done with high school and then go on to study nursing. This scholarship is in memory of Selah and recognizes her love for God and for people.

We would like to end with a prayer taken from Selah’s writings:

Jesus, let me be soft so that you may form me. Take me through hard times by the hand, warming me in your fire, soak me in the waters that I may have a soft heart that will receive you. Amen.

  • Jasmine Kelley
*not pictured

Sell Lake Community Church Scholarship

This scholarship is funded by Sell Lake Community Church. The church and cemetery were established over 100 years ago by farmers and loggers. It is located on County Road 2 between Shevlin and Lake Itasca, MN. They say they are presently blessed to have Dr. Jeff Wisdom serving their congregation.

  • James Pierson

Thompson Memorial Scholarship

Robert Thompson had a long association with Oak Hills. He came to Oak Hills as a student in 1948 when the school was just in its third year. Because he already had a BA degree, he graduated from the Bible program in 1950. In the fall term of 1950, Mr. Thompson began his career as an instructor in Bible, Public Speaking, and Christian Literature. He was on the faculty for over 30 years. Mr. T, as he was known, was also pastor of the Oak Hills affiliated chapel at Lake George, 20 miles south of Bemidji. 

In 1968, Mr. Thompson became President of Oak hills, following Mr. Hansen, he continued to teach and his leadership was significant in shaping the philosophy of student life still followed today. Students looked to MR. T as counselor, thought-provoking teaching, and model of biblical integrity. He often taught using a concept of “Belief, which leads to Attitude, from which comes Actions.” His concept of belief, attitude, and action continues to guide many of his former students.

Mr. Thompson stayed at Oak Hills until the fall of 1982. Then, he and his wife Joy returned to their home state of Oklahoma, and revisited Oak Hills just once. He died in 2005. This scholarship was established in memory of Robert and Joy Thompson by their daughter Sara Cocolin and her husband, David.

  • Shania Rieger
  • Ethan Aho


Todd DeMars Memorial Scholarship

Todd DeMars was a hardworking young man who loved to play basketball and hoped to one day become an engineer. While a junior in high school, Todd was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was two years later in 1985, just after his high school graduation from Richie High School in Richie, ND, that the cancer took his life. Todd’s family, Mom Darlene, Dad Richard, younger brothers, Mark and Troy, and younger sister Heidi (who is an Oak Hills alum) were left with a huge void in their lives. This scholarship, given by Todd’s younger brother Mark, is awarded to a student who exemplifies Christian character.

  • Stephanie Chupp

  • Steven Lindstrom (online student)

Wagner Memorial Scholarship

Donald M. Wagner came to Oak Hills in 1946 at the founding of the Oak Hills Christian Training School as the Principal of the new school. He was the Dean of Education until his retirement in 1979.

Mr. Wagner was a great hunter and fisherman. Many of his hunting experiences became illustrations in his Bible teaching. He was a great Bible teacher and preacher. Don and Agnes Wagner had no children of their own, consequently, many of the male students became his sons as they shared in his hunting and fishing trips.

Mr. Wagner, as Dean of Education, led the development of the curriculum of Oak Hills Bible Institute as it grew from a two year program to a 3rd year ministry diploma and toward the Christian College.

This award is in given in Mr. Wagner’s memory.

  • James Pierson
  • Michael Bremer
  • Mark Sina

Warroad Area Scholarship

The Warroad Scholarship is presented to Oak Hills by alumni from the Warroad area.  This scholarship is awarded to a full-time Oak Hills student who is a current or former resident of the Warroad School District.

  • Kayden King
  • Brandi Worth

Marvin J. Corrington Memorial Scholarship

  • Stephanie Chupp


Bemidji Area Businesses: Amity Graphics and Shine the Light 


  • Mark Sina
  • Whitney Jones
  • Sam Wolkoff

Amity Graphics Scholarship

Brian & Tina Larson presented  the scholarship.

  • Mark Sina

Ness Seal Coat Service Scholarship

Jon & Cindy Ness presented the Scholarship.

*not pictured

  • Philip Kopanuk

NLfx Professionals Scholarship

NLfx representative Brian Stowe to presented the scholarship.

NLfx Professional is a nationally leading provider of sound, lighting, video and communications equipment.  They provide system design, installation, sales, and rental and production services.

  • Stephanie Chupp

Paul Bunyan Communications Scholarship

Paul Bunyan Communications Brian Bissonette to presented the


  • Sam Wolkoff


Focus Publishing Scholarship

Joan Berntson Alumni and Advancement Vice President presented this scholarship.

  • Whitney Jones

Shine The Light and Your QFM Scholarship

Matthew Dehnert Shine the Light President present this scholarship


  • Timothy Kue
  • Noah Daniel
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