Crippen to be honored at event
WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota West Foundation will honor former Daily Globe editor Ray Crippen during its third Evening with the Stars fundraiser Saturday, at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College commons in Worthington.
The dinner and silent auction, conducted every other year in Worthington, raises money for scholarships for students enrolled at the local campus.
Crippen, a 1950 graduate of then-Worthington Junior College, has long been a supporter of the local campus, according to Minnesota West Foundation Director Jim Smalley.
"We try to honor someone who has been a good, supportive friend of the college," he said. "Ray ... is just a long-time supporter of the college through all his work at the paper."
Crippen completed two years at the local college before transferring to the University of Minnesota, and then completing stints in the U.S. Army in both Korea and Japan.
In 1955, he was hired as a reporter for the Daily Globe, his first full-time position at the newspaper after working as a "gopher" in the advertising department during summers and Christmas vacations.
By 1965, Crippen had become editor of the newspaper, and around that same time he was appointed by then-Governor Karl Rolvaag to serve on the first board of directors for the Minnesota Junior College system.
"The Minnesota legislature had been subsidizing junior colleges in Minnesota," Crippen recalled, adding that it was a surprise to everyone when the state announced it would be taking control of the state's junior college system.
He was reappointed to the state's junior college board under Gov. Rudy Perpich's reign. In a span of eight years, Crippen took his turn serving in a variety of leadership roles, from secretary to president. It was during those years of service the board worked to create what is known today as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU). In the 1990s, he was part of a committee that helped create the new name for the multi-campus college, Minnesota West.
Crippen, who has long written historical pieces of Worthington's past, said that during the Great Depression, the people of Worthington placed such a high value on education that they worked to create the local college.
"Worthington, on its own, at an election, decided to build -- even though a state system had been created," he said. "They had no guarantee at all that the state would take that over."
The college was created in 1936 because citizens were "concerned about their kids having a good education," Crippen said. "It was built, and of course the state did take it (the maintenance) over."
For many, the two-year college was a stepping stone for further education, and that was indeed the case for Crippen.
"When you consider what you're getting, I don't think that I got better education when I was at the University," he said. "I can remember when I took German; we had a class with five people. It was almost like having a tutor.
"When I got to the U, I don't think I ever had a class of less than 25 or 30. Some of those big lecture classes had 200 to 300 students," he added. "I think I got better education at Worthington Junior College. I got more attention and questions answered better than I did at the University."
Crippen's education led to a nearly 25-year career as the Daily Globe's editor. After retiring in 1989, he took a five year break before returning to the Globe as a columnist. For the past 18 years, his column has appeared in the newspaper each Saturday.
Saturday's Evening with the Stars is open to the public, and tickets for the catered meal are still available by calling 372-3475. There will also be tickets available at the door. On the menu is bacon-wrapped pork filet with au gratin potatoes, prepared by the Hickory Lodge.
The silent auction will begin at 6 p.m., with a variety of gift certificates donated by area businesses. Smalley said a few of the larger items include a trip to Grand Falls Casino, a hunting experience by Gordon Farms and a family barbecue donated by Widboom Farms.
"We usually try to raise between $3,000 and $4,000," Smalley said of the event.
Throughout the evening, guests will be treated to a variety of entertainment, including presentations by Minnesota West students, the Great Plains String Quartet, Minnesota West staff and others.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.