News Release

Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Association honors two Outstanding Alumni with Top Aggie award

By ltollefs on
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) Alumni Association welcomed alumni to the University of Minnesota Crookston campus for their annual reunion on Saturday, June 28, 2014. During the day's events, two alumni received the Top Aggie award, the, and another alumni was given the Distinguished Service Award. 

NWSA Top AggiesMarlys (Sargent) Engelstad '49 Adv; and Richard Widseth '49 Adv were named the 2014 Top Aggies. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Association, which recognizes alumni who have displayed excellent commitment and service to community, church, education, family, or their occupational field. 

Allan Dragseth '57, Eldred, Minn., was also honored during the reunion with the Distinguished Service Award. The award is given for exemplary service by the NWSA Alumni Association Board. Since it was established in 1991, Dragseth is only the 15th recipient of the Distinguished 

Marlys (Sargent) Engelstad, Florence, Ala., led a busy life as a student at the Northwest School of Agriculture. She was editor of the yearbook, a member of National Honor Society, active in vocal music groups, and played piano. After graduating, she attended the University of Minnesota, studying home economics. Later, she worked as a typist in the Ag Economics Department at the U of M, and also as a secretary for West Polk County Extension. 

Engelstad sang in her church choir for 50 years along with serving on a number of church committees. She is a member and officer of the community garden club, and was a member of the Institute for Learning in Retirement.

NWSA Distinguished ServiceRichard Widseth, Crookston, Minn., grew up on a small dairy farm, so living on campus was his first experience living independently. Following high school, he enrolled at the University of North Dakota to study civil engineering. Over his career, Widseth served as city engineer for Mason City, Iowa, and Crookston, Minn., and worked for consulting firms in both Mason City and northern Minnesota before he and two friends founded their own consulting engineering firm, Widseth Smith Nolting. 

Widseth is active in the Chamber of Commerce, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and served as president of Crookston Jobs. His is a member of the Rotary Club and NWSA Alumni Association, where he also has served as president for both organizations. 

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus--as well as 13 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

In the photo, top, left, are Top Aggies with Chancellor Wood and Corby Kemmer, director of Development & Alumni. Left to right: Chancellor Fred Wood, Dick Widseth, Marlys Engelstad, and Corby Kemmer.

In the photo, top, right are Distinguished Service Award recipient Allan Dragseth (left) and Chancellor Fred Wood.

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