Engelstad, who passed away in April, honored posthumously
The Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) Alumni Association hosted alumni for a day of activities celebrating their history on the campus on June 25.
Three alumni were honored by the NWSA Alumni Board: Clayton Engelstad 1948, Fertile, Minn. (posthumously); Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter 1956, Middle River, Minn.; and Stanley Overgaard 1965, Dalton, Minn. The Top Aggies were recognized during a luncheon held at noon in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.
Clayton Engelstad passed away in April 2016. The award was accepted by his children.
He started at country school at age four, and when Clayton Engelstad was 12, he entered the Northwest School of Agriculture for his freshman year of high school. He especially enjoyed the teaching of Ray Dunham in crops, William Barron in motors, and Harry Soderburg in welding.
Following graduation in 1948, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in the Pacific and on Cambria Air Force Base in California. Over his professional career, Engelstad has been involved in agriculture, owning and operating the Fertile Ski Area, and in contract bulldozing.
He has served in numerous leadership roles, including president and officer at the Cenex Cooperative in Beltrami, Minn.; Polk County Planning and Zoning Commission, and for 24 years on the Red River Valley Development Board. In 1965, he was named Polk County’s Outstanding Young Farmer. He and his wife, Carole, have been active in their church and with Adults-Teens Encounter Christ and Global Health Ministries.
Engelstad is a lifetime member of the Fertile Beltrami Education Foundation, a founder and lifetime member of the Sandhill Golf Course, and established and maintains the Carole Engelstad Memorial Scholarship at the Fertile Beltrami High School.
Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter
For Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter, the skills and interests she gained at the Northwest School of Agriculture are still a part of her life today including Principal Reiersgord introducing her to the world of chemistry. She enjoyed all the activities and special events she was a part of because she could live and go to high school on campus, something she feels she would have missed living at home on the farm.
After high school, Lunsetter earned an associate degree in computer science and Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry, mathematics, and secondary education. In 1968-69, Lunsetter set up a support group for Crookston area spouses of U.S. military serving in Vietnam.
Her career includes working as a librarian, an operations research analyst of the U.S. Army, teaching in both the United States and Germany, and for H&R Block in tax preparation. She has been an active volunteer serving on the NWSA Alumni Association Board, instructor for BoneBuilders through the RSVP program, her local church, Girl Scouts, and as an elementary reading volunteer.
While frequently moving during her husband’s military career, Lunsetter was determined to be involved wherever there were opportunities to do so. Since moving back to Minnesota in 1982, she has learned to doctor sick lambs and operate some of the farm equipment.
Following graduation from the Northwest School, Stanley Overgaard enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and served three years before transferring to the North Dakota Air National Guard to complete his six years of service. By the time he finished, the Northwest School of Agriculture had transitioned to the University of Minnesota Technical College so he returned to complete his associate degree in the dairy science program.
When he completed his degree, he returned to the family farm to farm full time for 45 years. He was involved in custom planting and harvesting as well and for a few years traveled to Texas when the harvest was complete in North Dakota.
Overgaard has held leadership positions while involved in several farm organizations and served on the board of the local dairy co-op, an organization his grandfather helped establish. He has also been a trustee, deacon, and council chairman for his church. One of his priorities has always been education, and because of that commitment, Overgaard was a member of the local school board for 20 years in Ashby, Minn., serving in a several different capacities.
In 2010, their family celebrated the 100-year anniversary of their farm. While there has been a great deal of change over the years, Overgaard is dedicated to leaving his farm better than when he began farming. Being a good steward of the land has become very important to him; and, therefore, led to the decision to return a portion of it back to native prairie.
The alumni reunion, first held in 1918, brings back alumni from the Northwest School of Agriculture, a residential high school located on what is now the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. The NWSA opened its doors in 1906 and graduated its first class of 8 students in 1909. The first Top Aggie award was given to Herschel Lysaker, a member of the staff at the Northwest School, in 1970 and it has been awarded annually since that time.