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Bill Watson.

Bill Watson is helping UMD raise funds for its first endowed hockey scholarship.

UMD alumni give back

Hockey payback

From M, fall 2004

UMD alumnus and hockey star Bill Watson (B.A. '90) says he probably wouldn't have gone to college without a hockey scholarship. That's one reason why he's pledged to pay back what he received in the 1980s and is helping raise $500,000 for UMD's first-ever endowed hockey scholarship.

"When you have success, you have to thank the people who did something for you," Watson explains. The scholarship is part of UMD's Step-Up Endowment Campaign to raise $1.5 million for scholarships for men's hockey and UMD's Division II sports, which began play in the highly competitive North Central Conference this fall.

In 1985, when Watson won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the most outstanding collegiate hockey player, it came as a surprise. "I didn't think I had a chance of winning," he remembers. Watson, a two-time All-American right wing, was inducted into the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. Today, the Manitoba native lives in his adopted hometown of Duluth with his wife Molly (B.A. '85) and their three children. He is a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, which matches his contributions to UMD. "The corporate gift-matching program is absolutely phenomenal," says Watson. "Everyone who has access to a matching program should take advantage of it."

For Watson, who says his success stems from UMD, paying back his scholarship feels like the best gesture he can make. "UMD gave me a chance," he says.

To contribute or learn more about UMD's Step-Up Endowment Campaign, call Scott Moore (B.A. '87), UMD director of development for intercollegiate athletics, at 218-726-7230 or e-mail

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