Stuart (Stu) Starner graduated in 1965, receiving a bachelor of arts in physical education, a minor in history, and secondary education certification. He began his career in higher education as assistant basketball coach to Head Coach Jim Dutcher of the University of Minnesota Gophers and then served as head coach at Montana State University.
In 1995, his professional career grew to include the areas of higher education fundraising and planned giving. He served as associate director of development and planned giving at the University of Texas at San Antonio; the director of major gifts for intercollegiate athletics at Montana State University, and the chief executive officer at the University of Houston Athletics Foundation. Starner currently serves as director of major gifts at the 12th Man Foundation—Texas A&M University.
Fellow alumni Gary L. McGrath '68, dean of student affairs at Arizona State University, was one of Starner's nominators for the award. He notes that Starner, like many UMMers in the 1960s, grew up within 50 miles of the Morris campus. A three-sport athlete—football, basketball, and baseball—Starner was a leader on and off the field. McGrath states: "I have a great deal of respect for Stu Starner. In the highly competitive field of Division I intercollegiate athletics, Stu has been a successful head men's basketball coach at two institutions. Over the last ten plus years, Stu has applied his considerable management and leadership skills to become an effective university development officer. Stu is an excellent example of a UMM graduate from a small town in Minnesota who has had a very successful career."
(From the 2006 news story)