Posted: August 18, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Clad in lime green biking gear emblazoned with "Minnesota State Colleges and Universities," Robert O. Erickson will embark on a 2,300-mile state bicycle tour to raise money and public support for part-time students.

The chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation, Erickson will depart at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22 from Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids. During the trek, which is expected to take 30 days, Erickson will tour all 53 campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. He is funding the trip at his own expense.

As a former trustee and chair of the finance and facilities committee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System's Board of Trustees, Erickson recognizes the financial hardships faced by many part-time students. He served as senior vice president for finance and operations for the University of Minnesota from 1991 to 1995 and worked as a senior executive for SuperValu for 16 years.

Before undertaking his fourth "Scholarship Challenge," the 59-year-old Erickson said, "Part-time adult students are not treated fairly by Minnesota's current financial aid program. The state needs to change its formula to give part-time students an equal opportunity."

Justin Pahl, past president of the Minnesota State College Student Association, said, "We appreciate his efforts to help part-time students better their lives. We have a larger non traditional student population. And, it's really hard for many of them to go full-time."

In the first three years of his bike tours, Erickson, who lives in Bloomington, raised more than $228,000. To spur contributions, the state colleges and universities will participate in Erickson's effort in various ways.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College, for example, has created a scholarship fund for its part-time students and raffles off two donated bicycles.

Contributions, which are tax deductible as charitable contributions, may be made to the foundations of individual Minnesota State Colleges and Universities or to the system's foundation. All donations raised in connection with Erickson's ride will be applied to student scholarships.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that serves as an integral partner with institutional foundations to advocate for the system and to raise and distribute funds for the benefit of students, programs and communities.

To make a contribution, send it directly to one of the institutional foundations or to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation, Wells Fargo Place, 30 7th St. E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-7804.