University Communications

Longtime supporter of SCSU passes away due to COVID

Ron Swenson passed away Aug. 27, 2021, after a two-week battle with COVID-19. His wife, Bonnie, said Ron was sick for a week before being in the ICU for another week.Ron and Bonnie Swenson

The couple are St. Cloud State University alumni — Ron having graduated in 1969 with a degree in industrial engineering and Bonnie in 1968 with a degree in elementary education — who have given back to their alma mater for over 20 years. In 2019, the Ron '69 and Bonnie '68 Swenson Financial Markets Lab in Herberger Business School was dedicated after the couple made a $1 million gift that funded the design and construction of the lab, as well as established an endowment to support the purchase and maintenance of investment software for years to come. The Swensons wanted to create a resource for students on campus that would give them hands-on learning opportunities in investing similar to their own experiences as first-generation college students at St. Cloud State.

"I'm a big believer in supporting education, not only for my own children but for others as well," Ron said at the time of the lab dedication in 2019. "State legislatures have really cut back on their financial support for public universities. The result of that is it's important as alumni to help fund those public universities to the extent we can."Dedication of the Ron '69 and Bonnie '68 Swenson Financial Markets Lab

Because of the Swensons’ gift, students and faculty have access to up-to-the-minute financial information, as well as the latest analytic software for conducting financial research and making investment decisions. Such tools help make students "first-day ready" for employment in banking and financial services.

“I’m so happy he was able to see the the financial lab up and running,” Bonnie said. “That was very important to him.” 

The news of Ron’s death has been felt throughout the SCSU campus over the past weeks.

“We are all so sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. He was such a generous and giving person,” said SCSU President Dr. Robbyn Wacker. “His generosity will benefit students for generations to come.”

“Ron was such a kind person and truly cared about student success,” said Herberger Business School Dean David Harris. “He will be greatly missed.”

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Ron’s passing. I became quite fond of Ron during the years we worked together and I am and will continue to be inspired by his commitment to the students of St. Cloud State,” said Matt Andrew, Vice President of University Advancement. “The Ron ’69 and Bonnie ’68 Swenson Financial Markets Lab is a lasting legacy to Ron’s belief in our students, for which we’re very grateful.” 

Ron Swenson