Foundation Feature: Brad Wimmer

Current MSUM Foundation Board President Brad Wimmer '76 (education, mathematics minor) brings positivity, knowledge and enthusiasm to the group. He and his wife Deb believe in giving back and have supported MSUM in a number of ways, including a recent pledge to the Alumni Center. You can often find him on a pickleball court or water skiing on Detroit Lake.

What is your tenure on the Foundation board?
I am starting my third term on the MSUM Foundation board.

Why have you stayed connected to the university throughout the years? 
We have three of us in the family (out of four) that have graduated with our spouses at MSU or MSUM. Pam Benedict (Wimmer) & Jim (distinguished alum), Detroit Lakes; Mitch & Deb Wimmer, Detroit Lakes; Brad & Deb Wimmer, Fargo. My brother Randy’s son Gabe graduated roughly 10 years ago. Our family has a strong tie to the University. We believe our education at MSU/MSUM has been a great asset for our life’s work!

What unique experience, skill or perspective do you bring to the Foundation board?
I hope I bring a connectiveness to the members and am always trying to tie the members together via committee work, socialization or some bond we are learning about. I try to bring some humor to the meetings and keep the mood light and positive.

What energizes you in your role serving on the Foundation board?
The people we have on the board and staff energize me. In my six years here and on previous committee work prior, I think this is our most engaged, strong, and fun board to date. We have many areas of expertise and members are great to share their knowledge. President Anne has been a treasure and it’s been truly a gift watching her address students, faculty and the board. Her energy is certainly contagious!

Who at MSUM inspires you?
President Anne Blackhurst, my mathematics instructor and advisor Marvel Froemming, and my science instructor Jessie Parsons, to name a few!

What experiences at MSUM have influenced your life the most? Which have helped you succeed?
I was an average student and enjoyed my time in college, actually graduating a quarter early in 1976. I enjoyed all my instructors and have also enjoyed all my post-graduation committee and Foundation work. I have met so many interesting and engaged members who have actually become mentors and good friends!

How do you hope to support MSUM and/or students with your philanthropic involvement? What good do you hope will come from it?
We have made a commitment to the MSUM Alumni Center and also to several student scholarships. We think it is just one way to give back for all we have received.

What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
I am learning as president of the Foundation to be engaged with my members, listen more than I speak, and stay on time and under budget! Another way to explain that is to under-promise and over-deliver! I am trying to involve everyone, realizing the quiet ones often have the most to say. Be modest, polite and everything else I learned in my 1960 Fargo Jefferson Kindergarten class with Miss Mitchell!

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
A couple of things most may not know is I served 16 years in Fargo City Government; eight years as a parks commissioner and eight years on the Fargo City Commission. I also ran and lost twice as a candidate for Fargo mayor. I am ambidextrous and love to play pickleball and occasionally still water ski!

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
My dad Andy Wimmer always explained the very thin line between winning and losing, claiming “just a wee bit more effort and positive attitude can bring you to the winning side.”  My mother Flossie Wimmer’s advice was to “always be a little bit nicer than the other guy!”

Where’s your favorite on-campus meeting place?
My favorite spot to meet is Weld Hall; I have always loved that space. What I would give to see an old Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall movie there again! “Casablanca?”

What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of?
My personal achievement would be getting my Below Zero merit badge while being cubmaster for my son Aaron’s troop. Two of us set up a tent and camped overnight at Camp Wilderness while the boys were snug inside the barracks building. It was roughly -15 degrees that night and little did they know it was actually very snug, warm AND QUIET, in our pup tent.

What experiences in your life inspired you to give?
On the Foundation, I believe Jenni Walthall made the ask and after a short time/discussion with my wife Deb, she had an easy sale. Without her asking, I am guessing we would not have come forward with our donation. We have been very happy with the decision and very impressed with what MSUM’s great team has accomplished!

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