Established on 06.18.2018 by Sharon Zerr-Peltner, Ph.D. '65

In 1961, Sharon graduated from Napoleon High School then matriculated at Concordia College. After she received her B.A. degree in history and political science with minors in German and Russian in 1965, she studied in Germany through the Tufts University M.A. program. Sharon taught German in the US and English in Germany briefly before moving to Jerusalem, Israel. For six years, Sharon was immersed in Jewish history, Hebrew, Judaism, early Christianity, and the wonders of the city of Jerusalem from its ancient walls, labyrinthine passages, and bazaars in the Old City to the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Israel Museum and the revered Philharmonic with its guest musicians and conductors from all over the world. She delved into archaeology, walked in the footsteps of those now known to history, took trips to Biblical places around the country, and was especially grateful to be invited into Jewish homes to experience Jewish holidays each year.  

Before and after those special years in Jerusalem, Sharon spent several years back in N.D. and taught German briefly at Concordia College, North Dakota State University, and Moorhead State University, now Minnesota State University Moorhead. In 1988, Sharon moved to Seattle, WA, to pursue a Ph.D. from the then highly-rated German Department at the University of Washington. She chose French as the secondary foreign language for her Ph.D. degree in German and, during those years, she was able to explore topics in other areas as well. 

Sharon loved living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and remained in Seattle after earning her Ph.D. She was fortunate during her lifetime to enhance her education by traveling extensively throughout the world, developing a deep appreciation for many languages, cultures, religions, and history. Sharon was urged to return to ND and finally, at age 77, she did. She hopes that this endowed scholarship in the name of her parents, Freda and Fred Zerr, will assist future generations of students in achieving their goals and that they will be inspired toward lifelong learning. 

Freda (Grenz) Zerr grew up on a farm near Napoleon, ND, then moved into Napoleon, where she raised a family with her husband, Fred Zerr. A homemaker, Freda enjoyed crocheting, knitting, embroidery, appliqué, quilting, baking, playing the piano and singing. Fred Zerr left the Odessa region of Ukraine alone at the age of 17 and obtained his American citizenship after serving in the US Army during WWI. He became a successful businessman in farming and banking. Both Freda and Fred were Black Sea Germans. They would be pleased that a scholarship in their name will help others. 

The Freda and Fred Zerr Endowed Scholarship Fund is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid to full-time or part-time students, with preference given, but not limited to, students from small-town and rural North Dakota, nontraditional “older” students, and military veterans. Selection is based on financial need and/or scholastic achievement.