He Returned Home To Help Make College More Affordable.
Lars Dyrud grew up raising cattle and hay on the family farm just north of Thief River Falls. With a passion to help people, he spent ten years in international nonprofit development work with extended time in South Asia working to bridge language barriers. After a few more years of program management at the University of Illinois, he returned 20 years later to the land he grew up on to raise his family and help students through the dedicated work he does with the NCTC Foundation. His work as Director of Foundation Operations allows him to create access to affordable education for all.
“My ancestors came over from Norway and settled where I grew up, that’s where I live and am raising a family right now.”
“I’ve always wanted to find a way to help people and language was a perfect way for me to make a difference. Many people can’t even read or write their own language, which was an opportunity to help and led me to Pakistan. When I was in Pakistan, seeing the cattle… it was just instant… I was back home. The thing that stands out and I wish people knew is how well people treated us (my family). I think people would be surprised to know how well we really were treated. The idea of the American Dream is really strong. I saw that all over, it’s what people would ask me often. I told them the story of my ancestors and it’s the idea that not everybody has that opportunity that makes it strong. I saw areas of the world where feudalism was still strong, and everyday people didn’t have the opportunities we do. It’s played a part in how I do things.”
“It’s a great place (Thief River Falls) to grow up and I have kids. Being away you see the world, you learn to appreciate small town living and being out in the country. It brought me back. The best part of being back is feeling like I am making a difference for students… helping them succeed, providing opportunities and being part of that.”
“I like bridging the gap between the college, students, and the community. We are essentially the conduit for the community to help students directly; we make it possible. Working with the communities across the region allows me to meet and work with great people every day. Without the help and commitment of the people in these communities, we can’t help our students. It is always great to see the dedication our communities have to helping our students at NCTC.”
“As college costs and student debt continue to be pressing issues, it is a great feeling to be able to be on the forefront of finding innovative ways to provide financial help to students. There are huge opportunities in front of us and that’s what I’m excited about.”
Director of Foundation Operations
Thief River Falls, MN
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