Northwest Technical College establishes scholarship for long-time employee

Sue Ludwig has been a fixture at Northwest Technical College for nearly four decades. Last fall, when the NTC Foundation found itself with an opportunity to create a new $500 scholarship, it decided to honor the college’s longest-tenured employee by creating the Sue Ludwig Business Scholarship.

“I have been thinking about creating a scholarship for the business program area for a few years,” Ludwig said. “It just worked out that the board honored me with this. The board has put some money into this scholarship, but it won’t take long for that to run out; I started putting my payroll deduction into the scholarship this month to help move it along.”

Ludwig began working for the college, then known as the Bemidji Area Vocational Technical Institute, in 1974, immediately after she graduated with a clerk-typist diploma. The college had a position open for a receptionist, where she started in July of 1974. Thirty-eight years later, Ludwig has the longest tenure at the college of any active employee and has worked for the bookstore, adult education, custom training and admissions offices. She also provided clerical support for the NTC Foundation after it was created in 2004; she worked in that capacity until 2011.

“The Foundation directors established the scholarship in appreciation of the work Sue has done to help the Foundation with administrative support during its startup years,” said Lisa Bruns, executive director of the NTC Foundation. “Her dedication and her long history with the college were assets when we established the NTC Foundation. She was the glue that ensured we were meeting all of our legal and organizational requirements; we could always count on her.”

Ludwig is excited about the scholarship because of the number of students she’s encountered during her lengthy tenure at NTC.

“I see so many more individuals coming to college who do need financial aid of some sort,” Ludwig said. “They run the gamut from just-out-of-high-school students to the non-traditional, older-than-average students; there is such a wide range of individuals who are coming to college now. In some cases, they are trying to come to school, work and hold down a family. It gets tough. The scholarship makes it a little easier and takes some of the burden off of them.”

Alicia Christenson, a second-year accounting student from Bemidji, is the first recipient of the Sue Ludwig Scholarship for Business. She received the award at the beginning of the spring semester.

“For me, this is a really great honor,” Christenson said. “I am a single parent with three kids, so any time I can win a scholarship it is great news.”

Christenson says the scholarship will help fund the purchase of a new computer, which she needs to continue her accounting studies next year. It is a purchase that would have been impossible without the financial support from the scholarship, and a purchase that will allow her to remain at NTC and complete her program.

“Most single parents have to think of their kids first,” Christenson said. “With this scholarship, I am going to get one of my needs met, which is a rare thing. I’m excited that this scholarship is going to allow me to get something I really need to complete my program.”

Ludwig is just one of 40 NTC employees who donate to scholarship funds for the college’s students, raising more than $10,000 each year. The Sue Ludwig Scholarship for Business is one of 35 NTC scholarships that are annually supported by contributions from alumni, business and industry, and members of the community. NTC also raises scholarship funds at its annual “Nite at the Races” event, which will be held this year on May 3.

For more information regarding opportunities to support scholarships for Northwest Technical College, contact Lisa Bruns, executive director of the NTC Foundation, (218) 333-6678.

About Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. Its open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition and high-quality education have attracted a diverse group of learners; today, the College serves more than 1,600 learners.  The college offers more than 40 degree programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology career programs. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. For more, visit