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Joseph Plut Scholarship Fund

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Joe Plut is a local celebrity and community figure known as “the mad hugger.”  Joe created a culture that fostered creative communication at Central Lakes College (formerly Brainerd Community College), where he began teaching in 1965.  He spent his teaching career at the Brainerd Campus and also taught an off-campus course at Minneapolis Community and Technical College on Saturdays in the fall of 2003. He retired in 2001.  

The Joseph Plut Scholarship Fund was started 15 years ago with a $3,000 donation by a former student, Mildred Stave (“77).  With additional contributions over the years, the permanently endowed scholarship fund has reached $41,000.  Over the past years, 50+ students have received a Plut scholarship to further their education. In early 2013 Joe was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is presently undergoing continued treatment.  It was a great hope of Joe’s that he would see his scholarship fund reach $50,000 within his lifetime.  

And on July 4, 2016 that wish came true at his birthday celebration hosted by Prairie Bay in Baxter, MN where fellow huggers conducted the "world's biggest hug" with Joe.

Joe will be 80 years old for an entire year, so let's help him reach $80K by his next birthday - July 8, 2017. 

A gift to his endowed scholarship fund will support the educational dreams of countless students for generations to come. 

Thank you for your support and for the opportunity to allow Joe Plut’s legacy to live on forever. #madhugger

Joe's Friends & Fans



  • Barbara Estrin
    • $200 
    • 6 yrs
  • Bryan and Nancy Krantz
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 8 yrs
  • Mark and Kolly Hudrlik
    • $200 (Offline)
    • 8 yrs
  • Jim and Linda Wehseler
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 8 yrs
  • Joan Stefano
    • $20 (Offline)
    • 8 yrs


Sara Spaeth
Brainerd, MN

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