Citizen of Edina: Denny Schulstad
Denny Schulstad had an illustrious 35-year career in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. But in our corner of the world, Schulstad, an Edina resident, is known as a public servant, prolific fundraiser, public speaker and mentor.
Schulstad served 22 years on Minneapolis City Council, representing 30,000 residents of the 12th Ward. Before the pandemic, Schulstad was also giving 30–50 speeches a year, speaking at Memorial Day events, Veterans Rotary meetings and the Edina Community Foundation’s annual Fourth of July Veterans Dinner. While serving as president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, he both increased membership to an all-time high of 60,000 and negotiated a solution to an impasse for naming the new campus football stadium.
Perhaps most unique is Schulstad’s involvement with the Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund. In 2005, he co-founded, along with late Edina resident Gene Sit, a statewide nonprofit to thank military members who served in a combat area after September 11, 2001. To date, it has raised $20 million and distributed more than $13 million in grants to nearly 20,000 Minnesota service members.
In addition to all this, as one of the highest-ranking officers in the state, Schulstad has taken the time to mentor hundreds of young men and women in local high schools who were interested in becoming a military officer. As a result, 67 have graduated from the Air Force Academy and numerous others from U.S. Air Force ROTC. One became the commander of Andrews Air Force Base and another the executive director of Kennedy Space Center.
Recently, Schulstad made a donation to the Edina Community Foundation to commission local sculptor Nick Legeros to create a full-size bronze statue of his golden retriever as a memorial to his late wife, Pam. Golden Memories was installed at Centennial Lakes Park this fall.
Contributed by Tina Boher, communications director of the Edina Community Foundation.