Alumnus Duane Engebretson, Class of 1943, Dies

Engebretson grant program has a lasting impact on the college's drug discovery initiatives
Sep. 2, 2015

Duane Engebretson, Class of 1943, passed away Aug. 23, 2015 of natural causes at his home in Sun City West, Arizona. He was 94.

Duane and his twin brother Glenn have been longtime supporters of the college's drug discovery efforts.

Previously, they supported research and educational initiatives involving drug design and development, including research symposia which brought together top researchers to share ideas and expertise on new drug therapies. Their Engebretson Drug Design and Development Grants have supported a number of faculty's drug discovery work in areas such as Alzheimer's and cancer.

"Duane and Glenn's generosity over the years has been crucial to our faculty's ongoing work in drug discovery research. Even more importantly, they have been great friends to many of us in the college, and have supported the college in many ways, including representing our pharmacy alumni at President Kaler's inauguration in 2011," said Marilyn Speedie, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "All of us at the college are saddened by Duane's passing. He and Glenn have left a legacy of giving at the college that will be appreciated for years to come."

Duane grew up in Devils Lake, N.D., where his father, Elmer, owned and operated Devils Lake Drug. Elmer employed his sons at the soda fountain beginning when they were age 13.

Duane and Glenn followed in their father's pharmacy footsteps, enrolling in the College of Pharmacy in 1939. After graduating in 1943, the twins entered the armed services and were separated for the first and only time: Duane enlisted in the Coast Guard and served in the North Atlantic, and Glenn enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific. Upon their return to Devils Lake in 1946, Duane and Glenn went back to work for their dad. In 1949 they purchased their father's interest in the business and continued to run a successful pharmacy until selling it and retiring in 1972.

In 2009, Duane and Glenn received the prestigious University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award, which recognized their service as benefactors who have had a major impact on the University.

Duane is survived by his brother Glenn. A celebration of his life will be held in Arizona on Sept. 11. Written tributes can be made on his online obituary.