Posted: August 17, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Once was not enough. Twice was not enough. No, even four times was not enough for Bob Erickson, who will begin his fifth 2,300-mile bicycle tour Monday to raise money and public support for part-time students who attend the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation, Erickson will depart at 8 a.m. 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.

What keeps him pedaling all those miles, year after year? "Many part-time students have a tough time making ends meet," the 60-year-old Erickson said before undertaking this year's "Scholarship Challenge." "They're often not eligible for scholarships, and the financial aid formula does not treat them fairly. The state should change its formula to give part-time students a fair shake."

About 40 percent of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students are enrolled part-time. The average age of part-time students is 29.

"This undertaking is particularly important for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "Expanding access to our colleges and universities is one of our top goals. Bob's ride is an active demonstration of that commitment, and I thank him for that."

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 also 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.

In his first four bike tours, Erickson, who lives in Bloomington, raised more than $261,000. 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.