Hamline News

Appeldorns Fund Hamline Innovation Studies


Building on a career of innovation that included more than two dozen patents and life changing breakthroughs at 3M, alumni Roger ’57 and Marilyn ’58 Appeldorn announced they will fund a new effort called the Appeldorn Family Endowed Fund for Innovation Studies at Hamline. Mr. Appeldorn believes that no other undergraduate institution is teaching the innovation process, and this could be a unique opportunity for Hamline.

“Businesses are looking for people who can innovate. They want people who can not only come up with original ideas, but who can successfully launch those ideas and put the ideas into action,” Mr. Appeldorn said.

Mr. Appeldorn graduated from Hamline in 1957, and he became a new product development and research scientist at 3M. After numerous research and management positions, Mr. Appeldorn achieved the highest technical position at 3M as a corporate scientist. He was elected to the 3M Hall of Fame for his extraordinary contributions.

At 3M, Mr. Appeldorn became an innovator of numerous optical systems, products, and a new micro-structured surface technology known as “micro-replication,” which has become a fundamental technological platform at 3M. He now holds more than 30 U.S. patents from his research at 3M. Ms. Appeldorn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Hamline University and went on to pursue a lifelong nursing career in the Twin Cities.

The Appeldorn family established the funds to introduce, educate, and train students in the basic principles of the innovation process. According to the Appeldorns, the funds are designed to enhance students’ understanding in both theory and practical applications, while enabling students to learn directly from proven innovators. Alongside classroom instruction, students will gain high impact learning opportunities engaging with forward-thinking companies. The funds donated by the Appeldorns ensure sustainable resources for Innovation Studies at Hamline.

“We are so proud that Hamline was among the first undergraduate institutions to focus on giving students high-impact experiences. These opportunities, like collaborative research, ensure that students not only learn in the classroom, but that they actually engage in the hands-on work that will prepare them to make an immediate impact in their workplace. I think Hamline is doing a tremendous job in preparing student in the sciences, and those students in turn give back to their companies and communities on so many levels,” said President Miller.

Mr. Appeldorn was the keynote speaker at Hamline‘s Emma Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics in 2013. His speech focused on his experiences at 3M and his mindset toward ingenuity. He presented different traits of innovators, like critical thinking, and how one can gain those traits.

Innovation Studies has taken off at Hamline in the form of a J-term course. In 2014, Mr. Appeldorn started working with Professor Bruce Bolon to develop a January course focused on the subject. The class “Special Topics in Innovation” piloted in 2015 and will be offered again in 2016. In the course, students learn about the various stages of innovation and the process of implementing the new ideas to create improvements and profit. Students will even make weekly trips to local inventive companies and talk to guest lecturers on the subject.

“I hope this gift will allow Hamline to teach students those skills and also introduce them to people who are innovators so they have a blueprint to become innovators themselves. It's amazing how many people are innovative, but they don’t know it or they don't believe in themselves. You have to give people the knowledge and a glimpse of what they could do. Hopefully we will give that to Hamline students so they can go out and transform the companies they work for,” said Mr. Appeldorn.