"Vikings + UND and Me" Scholarship Recipient: Jacob Greenmyer

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"Vikings + UND and Me" Scholarship Recipient: Jacob Greenmyer

Walking out on the field of the Metrodome with his friends and family, Jacob Greenmyer was awestruck by the size of the stadium. He could feel his heart beating as he was introduced to Jim Kleinsasser, a man Jacob admires, and a former UND standout and All-American who was starting in the final game of his career with the Minnesota Vikings.

Jacob was brought to another Vikings game earlier in the season by family friends. It was at that game, that Jacob spotted the large "UND and Me" sign on the scoreboard announcing the scholarship. He told his friend, "I'm going to apply for that."

At Sunday's Vikings game, Jacob was not in the stadium seats this time but down on the field as part of the pre-game presentation. It was hard for Jacob to appreciate the scale of the Dome before, but seeing it from the field brought to mind not only the great moments in Vikings football but also something much more personal. For Jacob, in that moment he reflected on the journey that had brought him there, and on the many people that helped him and supported him along the way, and the steps he wants to take to make his supporters proud when he starts his freshman year at UND this fall.

Getting off to a good start in a college career is a challenge faced by every student. For Jacob, making the adjustment to college life will be a little easier thanks to a $10,000 scholarship provided by the Minnesota Vikings to the University of North Dakota.

As Jacob stood on the field, holding that giant check with his name on it, surrounded by his family, he felt very fortunate in many ways. With funding for his first year of school at UND secured, he’s grateful he’ll be able to focus completely on his studies. “Not everyone was as lucky as I was to get this opportunity.”

After some severe health setbacks including being diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, Jacob saw first hand the care and dedication needed to be an excellent physician and healthcare professional. These individuals are role models to Jacob. And were in a great part responsible for his decision to pursue a pre-medical curriculum at UND, with the post graduation goal of attending medical school. “I was influenced by the great staff, doctors, and everyone that helped me through that time.”

Going to medical school would give Jacob a way to give back to the community that supported him, and the medical professionals who helped him through those times. “I owe it to them, and my family, to try and do something with this opportunity. I was influenced along the way by a lot of great people to go into the medical field. I’d like to open my own practice in a rural community. I think that would be important, and a way to give back to the community where I’ve gained a lot of my values.”

The Greenmyer familial support group accompanied Jacob to the presentation on Sunday, and were with Jacob on Vikings field at the Mall of America stadium. In attendance were his parents (Chelie and Ron Greenmyer), grandparents (Connie and Jerry Zetocha), two brothers (Andrew and Joseph) and his sister (Annah) who all watched the game from their private "Greenmyer" suite. Jacob's father, Ron, is a proud alumnus of NDSU. And Jacob's older brother is a freshman at NDSU. And although Jacob is the first in his family to choose UND, the Greenmyers are firm believers in the great education received in the North Dakota University System.

Jacob had some stiff competition as the scholarship attracted applicants from 18 states coast to coast, and the United Kingdom. The majority of applications came from Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. However, the selection of the scholarship recipient was location agnostic. In the end, Jacob was selected based on his full body of academic and community work, including high school GPA, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and a personal statement highlighting his career goals, achievements, how he overcame adversity and what the opportunity to study at UND specifically, would mean to his future.

“Given my second chance has made me more optimistic and more determined.”

Listening to Jacob, it is easy to hear that determination in his voice. He may be grateful for the scholarship, and for the chance to hit the ground running at UND, but if his past is any prologue, it could be the UND community that stands to gain the most.

Craig Garaas-Johnson

News & Features Editor

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