Dr. Walter Youngquist '39 Creates Opportunities for the Next Generation:

Dr. Walter Youngquist '39 Creates Opportunities for the Next Generation:
Sara Jacobson

It can be an incredible thing to look back on the life of someone who has lived with a view to the common good. Today we invite you to see how one Alum made it his goal to live well, and live fully.

Living Fully

His passion about issues surrounding population growth and supporting resources fueled a life of research.

An accomplished geologist-turned-consultant, he visited more than 70 countries—including a trip across the whole of Siberia and one over the Andes Mountains, followed by 500 miles on boat down the Peruvian Ucayali River— and wrote more than 150 articles and penned 10 books, two of which were published by the Wall Street Journal.

Described as an “eminent authority on energy issues,” he taught at the universities of Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon, worked as a consultant, and became a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as an Emeritus member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

His goal? He wanted to help future generations understand how to use energy well and to make certain we would have a healthy earth to pass on. 

And, amazingly, Dr. Walter Youngquist (’39) still found time to correspond regularly with staff at his alma mater, Minnehaha Academy.


Giving Back to His Roots

“For the past several years, he and I communicated as pen pals,” says Director of Institutional Advancement, Sara Jacobson. Walter’s letters came as “thoughtful notes, written from his typewriter...He often thanked me and MA for being a good steward of his investment, and called the heartfelt notes student [scholarship] recipients wrote to him ‘the best Christmas present.’”

The “investment” Youngquist referred to is a series of scholarships he established at the school.

Walter had been giving generously to Minnehaha for several years, but after his wife passed away in 2010 he decided to sell the 16 acres of land he owned on the outskirts of Eugene and create three funds that could empower future students to gain the same education he experienced during his years at Minnehaha Academy.

Each of these scholarships carries a very specific focus:

  1. The Robert Eric Youngquist Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of his son, Robert, who died at 26 years of age. This fund provides tuition assistance to families who have students with physical or neurological challenges. The fund also provides resources so that these students will be successful in school.
  1. The Jeanne Youngquist Strand Scholarship honors his sister and provides tuition assistance to a student who is academically successful.
  1. The Walter Youngquist ‘39 Scholarship provides general tuition assistance to any qualified student.

In total, Youngquist gave nearly $2.1 million to Minnehaha Academy and its students.


Do All the Good You Can

Walter Youngquist passed away this past February at the age of 96, having left his mark on the lives of many. Both his work in the field of geology and his educational endowments carried a common thread: Protecting and empowering the next generation.

Minnehaha Academy staff and students alike have been blessed by Youngquist’s generous spirit and heart for blessing others.

It’s fair to say that he lived out the John Wesley Creed, which he once added to his correspondence with Jacobson. The creed reads:

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.

We are grateful for Walter Youngquist, and look forward to the fruit that will come from the lives of students who are at Minnehaha Academy today because of his generosity.

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