In the fall of 1990, Linda Bunde began her journey as a Trojan at the University of Minnesota Crookston. After attending the University of North Dakota for two years in pursuit of a degree in social work, Bunde’s friend, Kevin Nunn, encouraged her to apply for the fashion merchandising program at UMN Crookston. She met with Don Cavalier, former director of counseling and career services, and after having a positive interaction with him, she knew this school was exactly what she was looking for. The small class size was appealing to Bunde, and her “passion for fashion” thrived in the business management/retail merchandising program. 

“To say the university has played a role in Bunde’s life is an understatement. “I am successful because of UMC.”

Growing up, Bunde knew she was destined to work with fashion in her future. Ever since she was young, Bunde recalls being captivated by retail. Her childhood consisted of helping out on the family farm in her hometown in Thompson, North Dakota. When she was fifteen years old and was eligible to apply for a retail position at her local mall, she quickly jumped on the opportunity. With this passion always inside her, she was elated to expand her understanding of the field at UMN Crookston. Judy Streifel-Reller, Bunde’s fashion instructor and advisor, was an influential educator in Bunde’s life who prepared her for her successful career in retail.

Standout memory from Bunde’s time on campus was when the fashion club took a trip to New York to learn about every aspect of the fashion industry. During this trip, the group attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Broadway show, while learning more about design, retail, makeup, and clothing elements of this career field. In addition to Bunde’s retail endeavors at the university, Bunde was involved in many extracurricular activities. She was a cheerleader for the hockey and football teams and a member of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), student government, and intramural volleyball.

After graduating with her two-year degree in 1992, Bunde was offered a manager position with Valerie Fitzgerald at her boutique in the Mall of America. Fitzgerald had spoken at one of Bunde’s classes as a mentor working in the fashion industry, so Bunde was thrilled to work with a role model right out of school. After moving around to different areas around the United States and working at organizations such as Neiman Marcus and Vanity, Bunde has found herself staying close to her roots in Grand Forks, N.D., and is currently celebrating the two-year anniversary of her boutique, Mainstream Boutique.

To say the university has played a role in Bunde’s life is an understatement. Bunde explains, “I am successful because of UMC.” Not only is Bunde thankful for the prosperous friendships she created during her time on campus, but she is also grateful for the confidence she gained from her classes and educators. She was exposed to multiple career-building opportunities within the two years on campus, which opened many new doors for her future. As she works in her boutique today, she will forever cherish the moments she had at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Written for the Winter 2022 Torchlight e-Newsletter.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414