The Moellers’ lives have been a testament to these passions. Dennis taught horticulture in the St. Paul public school system for more than a decade, then worked for the University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H youth development program in Wright County for 25 years. “Agriculture is so important, as complex a science as you can get,” he says. “4-H focuses on highly vocational, hands-on learning about agriculture. The kids and families couldn’t be more motivated.”
Nancy, ’69 B.S.N., spent the early years of her nursing career in managerial roles. She worked for several Minneapolis hospitals and a private company before deciding to focus on what she’d always wanted to do—palliative care. “Every situation was unique, and I got back more than I ever gave,” says Nancy. “It’s caring for people at the other end of life and helping them make a journey to a different place.”
As for the marching band, it’s in Nancy’s DNA. Her father, a 1938 University of Minnesota graduate, was in the marching band, as were two of her brothers. “When we were growing up, Dad took us to the first indoor concert the marching band ever did,” she says. “Dennis and I have continued the tradition by attending many Gophers games. The pregame and halftime performances bring us great joy. I’m so proud of that band.”
The Moellers’ estate gifts will support three areas. One will fund 4-H youth development programs near Minnesota’s Native nations as well as professional development experiences for Extension faculty and staff who serve these youth. The second will be a scholarship for nursing students interested in palliative care, research, or education. Another scholarship will support students in the marching band who are enrolled in the School of Nursing or the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.
“Setting this up has been easy,” says Dennis. The couple talked with their lawyer, then got connected to a development officer at the University of Minnesota Foundation. “She’s done a phenomenal job of guiding us and putting a structure in place that reflects our wishes,” says Nancy.