Former 3M exec funds engineering scholarships

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Former 3M exec funds engineering scholarships

Les Krogh during a 2012 visit to UNL.
NU Foundation | Courtesy
Les Krogh during a 2012 visit to UNL.

A career 3M executive who left a lasting impact on the company also left a lasting legacy at UNL with an endowed scholarship fund for students in the College of Engineering.

Lester “Les” C. Krogh, a Nebraska native who helped lead product research and development teams at 3M for nearly 40 years, established the Lester C. Krogh Scholarship and Fellowship in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a planned estate gift of more than $345,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Annual net income from the endowment will provide about $15,000 or more annually to be used by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for awards to fulltime undergraduate or graduate students who are majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering and maintain academic requirements.

Krogh, who died this year, remained connected to UNL throughout his life by championing the university, volunteering his time for the College of Engineering, providing scholarship funds and recruiting fellow graduates to work at 3M.

“Lester Krogh has been an inspiration to us, not only for all that he accomplished in his lifetime but for the longtime support he has provided to our programs,” said Tim Wei, dean of the UNL College of Engineering. “He understood the importance of making sure students have the education and opportunities to prepare them for successful careers, and we are deeply grateful for everything he has done for the college.”

Krogh had direct advice for students interested in careers in chemical engineering, wisdom he shared with Wei during a 2012 interview.

“Always be inquisitive,” Krogh said. “Be very curious as to what happened. You’ve got to be a little bit daring. Creating something new is what you are trying to do, all the time.”

Krogh’s gift helps support the University of Nebraska’s current fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, and its top priority to increase support for student scholarships.

While at the University of Nebraska, Krogh earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering in 1945 and a master of science in organic chemistry in 1948 from the College of Engineering. He then earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Minnesota in 1952, the same year he joined 3M.

Krogh directed research and development in 3M’s commercial and industrial sectors. He authored several scholarly and business publications and advanced the field of chemical engineering with three patented innovations in polymerization and coating. He retired from 3M in 1989 after serving as senior vice president of research and development.

In recognition of his career achievement and service to the university, Krogh was awarded the University of Nebraska Alumni Association’s Achievement Award in 1986 and received the University of Nebraska Foundation’s highest award for volunteer service, the Perry W. Branch Award, in 1996.

In 1997, Krogh established the Lester C. and Joan M. Krogh Scholarship and Fellowship in Chemistry with a gift to support UNL students.

He was born on Aug. 22, 1925, to Clarence and Clara Krogh and grew up in Ruskin, Neb. He married Rosa C. Krogh, and they had two children together: Christine and Charles. Rosa Krogh died in 1994. He is survived by his wife, Joan Krogh, of North Oaks, Minn.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 77 years. In 2013, donors provided the university with $236.7 million for scholarships, medical and other research, academic programs, faculty support and facilities. For more information, go to

Remembering Nebraska Engineering Graduate Lester Krogh

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