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Cronk takes over as Northern Foundation director


August 27, 2019

Havre Daily News/Derk Hann

Shantel Cronk poses for a photograph in the Montana State University-Northern Alumni Foundation office.

A native of the area has returned to work at raising funds for the local university.

Shantel Cronk, who grew up in Chinook, has taken the position of Montana State University-Northern Alumni Foundation executive director, and said she is excited about playing a role in the future of Montana State University-Northern and the Havre community.

"It's nice to be in a position where you can feel like your contributing to something positive like this," she said.

Former Northern Alumni Foundation Executive Director Jim Bennett resigned in June.

Cronk, who started last Wednesday as the executive director, has assumed the position after working for global companies for the past 20 years, including Nike, Adidas, Red Wing Shoe Co. and, most recently, Deckers Brands, which is based in Santa Barbara, California.

Northern Alumni Foundation is a nonprofit organization created by Northern's alumni and community members who wanted to raise and invest private funds for the betterment of the university, a press release says. The role of the executive director is to work with the community, alumni, the university and the foundation board to make improvements to the university in its primary goal of supporting Northern and it's students. 

"Nearly 79 percent of Northern's student body receives some sort of scholarship assistance," it said. "With total assets over $10 million, the foundation awards more than $300,000 in campus-based scholarships each year."

In the press release, Northern's Chancellor Greg Kegel said he is looking forward to working with Cronk.

"The foundation plays a major role in helping the university reach our strategic goals," he said. "I'm looking forward to working toward these goals with Shantel as she steps into the executive director role."

Cronk told the Havre Daily News that most of her experience has been in for-profit organizations, but she is very excited for the change. She added that she hopes to be able to bring her business strategy background to the table for the foundation, and apply it in creative ways to raise more funds and best execute programs with the funds the foundation already has.

"Jim Bennett did a fabulous job in taking the foundation to a successful place," she said.

She added that she hopes to continue some of the momentum he built as well as look at the foundation through a new lens.

"I was born in Havre and I'm thrilled to be living and working here," she said in the press release. "Working for the foundation gives me the opportunity to utilize my experience while contributing to the success of the university. The Hi-Line is very fortunate to have this incredible higher education institution in its backyard and I will do all I can to help meet the goals of the university and the foundation."

Watch for more about Cronk and her new position at the Foundaiton in the upcoming Back to Northern special section of the Havre Daily News.


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