Established on 12.15.1997 by Curtis Nielsen '72, James Gelbmann, MD, and his colleagues at the Brainerd Medical Center 

Curt and Sandy Nielsen met after their freshman year at Concordia, as they sang in the Concordia’s New Pace Singers, singing and preaching in churches, bible camps, and prisons throughout Montana during the summer of 1968. On return to college, the group continued to present the Gospel message and then decided to take a year off from college and present the Gospel message throughout the United States and Canada, under the auspices of the then American Lutheran Church. During that year, Curt and Sandy became much more than close friends and became a married couple in 1971.

Upon return to Concordia in the fall of 1969, Curt completed a degree in hospital and healthcare administration and Sandy a degree in elementary education.  Most of their careers and life were spent in beautiful Brainerd, Minnesota. Curt started out as Associate Administrator of Joseph’s Medical Center hospital and then joined the Brainerd Medical Center clinic as their Administrator and helped the clinic grow to 50 physicians before retiring in 2008. Sandy enjoyed teaching various grades within the Brainerd school system, including various grades in five different schools within the district…. loving just about every minute of it. Sandy retired a few months before Curt.

They raised two handsome red-headed young men, Eric '98 and Benjamin '00, who now work as healthcare administrators in Moose Lake and Waconia, Minnesota.  Both boys graduated from the same healthcare administration program at Concordia…just like dad. Their charming wives are teachers…like Sandy was.

They are blessed with five grandkids, which has led to great joy, pride, and a galore of sports and music activities to attend.  Those five kids give them no reason to just sit around at home.

In 1997, their sons were Concordia students in the healthcare administration program. At that time, Curt was the Clinic Administrator for Brainerd Medical Center, a physician-owned medical practice. Just before Christmas of that year, the Nielsens received an overnight mailing from Concordia announcing that the 30 physicians from the clinic had collected enough money to establish the Curtis and Sandy Nielsen Endowed Scholarship. Since then, the endowment has grown substantially and awarded at least 15 scholarships to students majoring in healthcare administration. 

Recently, Curt joined two other healthcare administration program graduates in establishing another endowed scholarship in honor of the founder of Concordia's healthcare administration program, Dr. Ted Heimarck. The first scholarship from the Dr. Ted Heimarck Endowed Scholarship will be awarded during the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Curtis and Sandy Nielsen Endowed Scholarship is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid to a junior or senior student(s) majoring in one of Concordia's healthcare administration programs. The recipient must have attended Concordia for at least one year prior to being considered for the scholarship. Financial need should only be a consideration if deciding between candidates.