Full collage of Jerry Knutson and his family members - Where are they now?
Jerry Knutson and his family members

Longtime University of Minnesota Crookston professor Jerry Knutson retired in 2004 after 35 years of teaching general biology, zoology, and microbiology, and because of the lifelong friendships he developed on campus and in the community, he made the decision to stay in Crookston following retirement. Knutson says his years on campus produced a lifetime of great memories and trying to find a singular standout memory was “impossible.” 

Knutson recalls participating in the 1980 United Kingdom Reciprocal Exchange as he joined UMN Crookston student Roger Beekman 1982 in England for an exciting year. His time at the Berkshire College of Agriculture in the UK led to students Osman Guneri 1982, John Wickens 1984, and Adrian deBekker traveling to the Crookston campus and later receiving their degrees. Knutson also recollects enthusiasm from his former colleagues, Jane Sims and Michelle Christopherson, for online instruction which led to the design of an online microbiology course. 

“It was always my goal to help students achieve and succeed as students and alumni - maybe learn to appreciate the wonders of biological sciences, too,” said Knutson.

Over the years, Knutson’s former advisees have made headlines like Nick Starcevic 2005 who appeared on the “Big Brother” television series and Natalie Ueland Price 1990, Dr. Kari Torkelson 1991, Cathy Behr Helin 2004, and Ken Essay 1994 who have been honored with recognitions. Knutson also recalls hosting a wedding reception for his work study, Todd Dick 1999, and hiring UMN Crookston students for summer migrant school.

“Working with UMC graduates as colleagues on campus certainly have been valuable experiences and great memories for me,” Knutson added. “I also truly enjoyed teaching students at the technical and community college in East Grand Forks for nearly two decades.” 

“Selfish great memories for me include being invited by student association advisors, including Pam Holsinger-Fuchs and campus student association officers, to help guide the student senate six times in 1970, 1977, 1985, 1989, 2000, and 2002 and to receive the “Most Supportive of Students Award” four times in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004,” he continued. “I was also pleased to serve on the Campus Advisory and Advance Board led by Chancellors Fred Wood and Mary Holz-Clause.”

In retirement, Knutson says staying in Crookston has allowed him the ability to continue to attend campus events such as music concerts, athletic games, retirement parties, alumni socials, theater productions including the recent “Little Shop of Horrors”, and other activities. He also enjoys traveling, collecting, photographing nature, “attempting” to paint, and making collages of memories. 

Knutson has brought joy to many current faculty and staff members at UMN Crookston with his gifted art including paintings, pressed flowers, painted boxes and blocks, photos, ornaments, and much more, all university related of course. 

Go Aggies, Go Trojans, Go Golden Eagles!

Written for the March 2023 Torchlight e-Newsletter