Donor Spotlight: The Don Hilligoss II Memorial Scholarship

The Hibbing College Foundation was established 66 years ago in 1958 with the mission of strengthening the availability of higher education opportunities for students attending Minnesota North College’s Hibbing campus. Over 75% of attending students need additional funding in order to attend college, and the Foundations’ generous donors and partners make it all possible. Each of these selfless individuals/families have a special story for why they choose to support the Hibbing College Foundation. Cindy Hilligoss is one of our amazing donors, and her story truly represents transforming grief into service for the community, as well as a meaningful way to keep the memory of our loved ones alive.

In August of 2017, Cindy lost her husband of 37 years- Don Hilligoss II. Don passed away in a motorcycle accident. He was owner of several auto dealerships including Ranger Chevrolet in Hibbing and Grand Rapids GM. According to Cindy, her passion for creating a scholarship in Don’s honor came from his love of the auto industry and business operations. Besides being active in the community, Don was generous and helpful, and loved his family.
In 2021, Cindy and her family decided to keep Don’s memory alive, while also giving back to students seeking higher education, speci?cally those searching for training in the automotive and business ?elds. Cindy is now retired, but worked with Don at their dealership Ranger Chevrolet in Hibbing, and she understands the importance of this type of training. “The need for auto mechanics is great. The industry is changing & that means a need for mechanics with the new knowledge of the electric & hybrid vehicles.” Cindy knew that Minnesota North College’s Automotive Technician program on the Hibbing campus would be a great ?t for the scholarship. This program, taught exclusively at the Hibbing campus, combines classroom study and practical hands- on training to provide students with essential skills needed to perform repairs on today’s vehicles.
The Don O Hilligoss II Memorial Scholarship was created. A $30,000 endowed scholarship through the Hibbing College Foundation. Each year, a student is awarded a $1,000 scholarship going toward their program costs at Minnesota North College, the scholarship criteria is: Preference to students in the Automotive Technician Program. Also open to students pursuing Business. Other scholarship criteria include community service, a ?nancial need, and a minimum GPA of 2.0. “We hope to be able to help students by reducing their costs to ful?ll their vision for their future, and to provide for themselves and/or their families is a huge undertaking. Cindy also mentions how important and valuable donations to the foundation are for the community as well. “My adult children, their spouses, and my grandchildren, bring me the most joy, and my dog helps too!”
We are in-debited to Cindy and all of our donors. There are many ways to GIVE including a donation to our operational account, an endowment, a scholarship for any time period, or a donation to our student emergency fund. We also have a newly formed Alumni campaign created for alumni to give back to the college they attended. Alumni are especially proud of attending Hibbing Community College or Hibbing Junior College. Contact our Executive Director, Melissa A Versich for more information- email: [email protected] or 218- 293-6851. Help us invest in dreams for our current and future students of Hibbing and the Iron Range!