VCSU receives largest gift ever—$2.5 million from Wright estate

Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:06 pm | Author: Greg Vanney
Valley City State University has received a $2.5 million gift to the VCSU Foundation from the estate of Leonard and Marjorie (Dreis) Wright of Mukilteo, Wash.

The gift—the largest in VCSU history—will be applied to the scholarship fund at VCSU.

“We will be forever thankful to the Wrights for their outstanding generosity and their commitment to education,” said VCSU President Steven W. Shirley. “Their gift is clearly a gift that will keep on giving, touching the lives of future generations of VCSU students.”

The Wrights’ gift to VCSU was facilitated in part through their connection with Phil Mueller of Valley City, a 1968 Valley City State alumnus who serves on the Valley City State Foundation Board. Mueller, the nephew of Leonard Wright, spent several of his college summers working for the Wrights in Alaska and maintained contact with them throughout their lives.

A Dazey, N.D., native, Marjorie Wright attended VCSU, then known as Valley City State Teacher’s College, and became a teacher.

Wright married Leonard Wright in 1945, and the couple moved to Alaska. Marjorie Wright taught for many years in Alaska before joining her husband’s business, Badger Construction, which prospered with work on construction projects associated with the Alaska oil pipeline.

In retirement the Wrights moved from Alaska to the U.S. mainland, traveling widely and making many return trips to the Valley City area to visit family and friends. On Leonard Wright’s death in 2007, Marjorie moved to Washington. She died at the age of 91 on April 7, 2013, in Mukilteo.

“Leonard and Marjorie Wright were very successful business people,” said Larry Robinson, VCSU executive director of university advancement, “and the foresight they had in making the arrangements for this generous gift to Valley City State shows they did not forget their North Dakota roots.”