I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve been able to meet students and alumni from various walks of life in my work at Saint John’s. From Kenya to Hong Kong to my hometown of Glenwood, Minnesota.
One alumnus whom I’ve met and cherish is Ron (Sid) Sandeen, who graduated in 1957. Sid was also raised in Glenwood. After Saint John’s he went on to become a revered music teacher in the Minneapolis School system, where he taught for 35 years and where his bands won numerous city, state and national awards. As many Johnnie alumni before him, Sid went above and beyond the call of duty during his career. He created a widely acclaimed summer music program for Twin Cities kids to continue practicing and performing year-round. Many attendees were from schools that didn’t offer music classes.
Throughout his life as an alumnus of Saint John's Sid has supported current students with meaningful financial gifts to the Student Fund. Those in turn have been designated for annual academic scholarships. To date over 40 years’ worth of Johnnies have benefited from Sid’s annual generosity, and he couldn’t be prouder of this. “I find a lot of personal happiness in helping today’s Johnnies. I know my dollars are being put to good use, helping great young men enjoy all that Saint John’s has to offer.”
I recently had the chance to tell Sid about a current first-year student at Saint John’s. Michael Gruber, like Sid, was raised in Glenwood by two teachers, and he is the oldest of six boys. 63 years after Sid, Michael took the same path to Collegeville, though unlike Sid -- who majored in music -- Michael studies business and plays baseball. I recently spoke with Michael and asked him what he would say to an alumnus from his hometown who continues to support students like him.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the scholarships I’ve received from alumni. There is no chance I would have been able to attend Saint John’s without scholarship donors. It’s really cool to know that there are alumni from Glenwood who are committed to providing the same opportunity they had over 60 years earlier. I would tell Sid I can’t wait to do my part when the time comes.”
Sid is happy to hear there are still a few kids from Glenwood choosing Saint John’s, particularly from a family of educators, like himself. “It’s nice to think about my small hometown still producing good Johnnies. I’m very proud to be from Glenwood, and of course I'm just as proud to support them while they’re at Saint John’s.”