Orchestrating A Legacy: Dick and Zoma Edstrom
As a high school senior Emily Danger '06 visited campus and heard Northwestern's choir practicing, He Never Failed Me Yet. "I remember the director, Professor Timothy Sawyer, talking about the text of the song and thinkingthey really believe what they're singing about," says Danger. "I knew then that Northwestern was a place where you can talk about the real meaning behind the song and everybody was on the same page. I fell in love with the people and the campus and the atmosphere."
Availability of scholarship money heavily influenced Danger's choice to major in music education, and today she is in her seventh year as a high school choir director and is the assistant director of one of the largest high school choral programs in South Dakota.
"The Edstroms invested in my life and they didn't even know me! Now as my former students work alongside me in music education, it's all coming around full circle." Emily Danger'06
Recently, one of Danger's former students attended the South Dakota All-State Choir as a music education teacher. "It was a neat moment for me," says Danger. "Something must have clicked for her when I had her in high school."
In the same way Danger influences the next generation of music educators, her own music education was influenced by the generosity of Northwestern class of 1958 alumni Dick and Zoma (Kumerow) Edstrom.
The Edstroms' roots intertwine with Northwestern alumni from generations past, present and future. Their passion for music and education can be traced back to the godly influence and financial sacrifice of their parents, and their decades of dedication to teaching have touched-and continue to touch-the lives of Northwestern students.
So passionate was the Edstroms' commitment to music education that early on, when they were asked to travel as part of Billy Graham's evangelistic team, they couldn't accept the offer.
"We taught because we had to! We didn't teach for the money," says Dick. "Teaching was where our hearts were. Teachers cannot be made; teachers are born." And so they devoted nearly four decades teaching throughout the Twin Cities at schools including Robbinsdale, the Anoka-Hennepin School District and Northwestern. "We wanted to invest in educating the upcoming generation that would take our places," says Zoma.
Today Dick and Zoma are retired, but their enthusiasm for music, education and Northwestern students remains undiminished. Creative estate planning strategies enabled the Edstroms to ensure their financial future and establish scholarships in each of their names so their influence on Northwestern's next generation of music educators can continue indefinitely.
The Edstroms find great joy in their partnership with Northwestern students, "We set up the scholarships because we want to see students benefit and succeed now-not after we're gone!"
Perhaps Emily Danger, 2004 Edstrom scholarship recipient, sums it up best: "Thank you for never giving up on me and for believing in me, Mr. and Mrs. Edstrom! You are an inspiration to young music educators, and I hope I can make an impact upon my students in the same ways you have influenced me."
What are your plans for the future and how can you influence the next generation? Estate planning can help you care for your loved ones after you are gone, plan for your financial future and establish your legacy at Northwestern.