John and Jodi Stewart have given back to UND in numerous ways.
Leaving a legacy: Former accounting major gives back
Text smallerText larger
Updated: Sunday 03/14/2011 11:59:42 (ET)
by Josh Morton, UND Alumni Association
Send this article to a friend Print RSS Shop

He calls himself a product of UND's academic environment. After growing up in Parshall, N.D., former UND basketball player John Stewart chose the school for all the right reasons.

"I liked accounting, and at that time, UND had by far the best accounting program in the state," said Stewart, a Minot businessman and 1978 graduate from the College of Business & Public Administration. "I didn't have any athletic offers and didn't think much about sports until the fall of '74, when I decided to try out for the JV team. Fifty guys tried out and I made it."

His accounting career eventually took him to Minot as a partner for Brady Martz. While he didn't come to UND to play basketball, it was basketball that has kept him close to his alma mater.

"I got as much out of my experience as anybody," Stewart said.

Stewart, 1977
Now, he and his wife Jodi are making experiences possible for current and future students and student-athletes at UND. It started with the John & Jodi Stewart Impact Scholarship through the UND Foundation supporting men's basketball. This year's recipient was Nick Haugen.

"John sets a great example for alumni of all of our sports, and it's something we talk to our current student-athletes about," UND director of athletics Brian Faison said. "There's someone out there helping you have this opportunity, and when the time comes for you to help out and you have the ability to do it, you should return the favor."

The Impact Scholarship was just the start of the Stewarts' involvement in North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND. They already had teamed up with other former players of coach Dave Gunther to support a scholarship in Gunther's name. The Dave & Jane Gunther Scholarship Endowment was established this fall through the UND Foundation.

"The friends I made and the relationship with coach Gunther are like fine wine — they get better with age," Stewart said. "It took me 10 years before he I saw him as something more than a coach. He was not always likeable because he was all about preparation and discipline. Now, when I call or see him it's about a friendship, and I give him a big hug."

The Stewarts also have joined a growing pool of former student-athletes who have discovered another way of giving back — by leaving their legacy at UND. They've left a bequest to the UND Foundation to support a basketball scholarship endowment, as well as, a gift to the John & Jodi Stewart Professorship to benefit the College of Business & Public Administration.

"I'm honoring my parents, coach Gunther and accounting instructors who prepared me for life," Stewart said. "I have two passions, and it's important to remember that student-athletes are there as a student first."

"Bequests, life insurance designation, 401(k) designation all are great ways to leave a legacy at UND through the UND Foundation," said Steve Brekke, a fellow UND basketball alumni and current Associate Athletic Director for Development. "John defines North Dakota Spirit with his generosity on so many levels through annual gifts like the Impact Scholarship, to endowments, to a planned gift. It's what the campaign is all about."

As for Stewart's thoughts on North Dakota Spirit and what it means to him?

"It means achievement, getting the most out of yourself," he says. "You have to maximize what you have and I see it in UND's move to Division I."

Interested in leaving a legacy for UND through the UND Foundation? Contact Steve Brekke ( or Josh Morton (

Captains pace UND in Jackrabbit Fall Invite
Senior captains Amanda Fairweather and Mikki Kromy paced the North Dakota women's golf team on the opening day of the Jackrabbit Fall Invitational. MORE
UND opens Jackrabbit Invite with steady play
Newcomer Jacob Dehne was the most consistent of the North Dakota men's golfers during Monday's opening 36 holes of the Jackrabbit Fall Invitational. MORE
North Dakota tabbed eighth in preseason poll
The University of North Dakota women's hockey team has been voted as the nation's eighth-ranked team in the preseason Division I Women's Poll released on Monday. MORE
UND, REA launch UND GameDay app for menís hockey
GRAND FORKS, N.D. Ė UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena are proud to announce a brand new addition to North Dakota men's hockey games: a mobile app developed specifically for game days. MORE
Tillman named ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Defensive POW
Senior cornerback Alex Tillman was named the ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week in an announcement made by league officials on Monday. MORE
Carts ready for the Champions Tour stop in Bismarck at the Hawktree Golf Club.
Great numbers turned out for the Champions Tour Golf stop in Bismarck last week at the Hawktree Golf Club.  MORE
The dining room is set as golfer hit the course at the Detroit Lakes Country Club.
It was another successful day on the course, as Detroit Lakes hosted the third stop of the UND Champions Golf Tour.  MORE
Find out information about men's hockey ticket wait list.
Champions Club Executive Director Josh Morton explains the Wait List for men's hockey season tickets.  MORE
Another edition of the Champions Club video blog with Josh Morton.
Josh Morton takes look at how one team is determined to make their mark on UND football for years to come.  MORE
The instant impact of an Impact Scholarship can help student-athletes like Ross Brenneman.
In the new blog, a look at Impact Scholarships and how they are different from the Champions Club.  MORE