Fellowship and Philanthropy

David '68 and Aileen '69 Clough are recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding volunteer service for the benefit of the University or played vital roles as volunteer fundraisers on behalf of the NDSU Foundation.

Story by Micaela Gerhardt | March 21, 2023

David and Aileen Clough

It was 1967, and David Clough ’68 was a junior studying agricultural mechanization at NDSU. He hopped in his brother-in-law’s 1965 Chevy Impala Super Sport — a snazzy car with a maroon exterior and black leather bucket seats — and went to pick up some girls from Kappa Delta for a fraternity-sorority scavenger hunt. Aileen (Askegard) Clough ’69, a sophomore studying home economics, happened to ride in the passenger seat. She immediately caught David’s eye, and they married shortly after graduation.

With NDSU degrees under their belts, David and Aileen established a farm and equipment business in Fessenden, North Dakota, where Aileen also taught home economics to seventh through 12th graders. As their family grew, they took their kids to Bison football and basketball games when time allowed for it. NDSU was always on their minds, but David says it wasn’t until he was elected to the North Dakota Wheat Commission in 2006 that he and Aileen were truly reconnected to NDSU.

Over the years, David and Aileen’s involvement and philanthropy have helped advance agriculture, education, and fellowship at NDSU. They serve as passionate ambassadors of the University in their daily lives and enjoy the friendships they have made by reconnecting with their alma mater.

In 2015, Aileen became a member of NDSU’s College of Human Sciences and Education Board of Visitors, and in 2018 she became an NDSU Foundation Trustee, first serving on the alumni awards committee and, more recently, on the outreach committee.

Together, David and Aileen have contributed major gifts to numerous capital projects on campus, including the Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex, Peltier Complex, Jack Dalrymple Agricultural Research Complex, and renovations, technology, and equipment for the College of Human Sciences and Education’s food production laboratory and dining room.

After retiring from farming, they also established a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) using proceeds from their farm equipment sale, which will endow six undergraduate scholarships for the benefit of students in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources and the College of Human Sciences and Education.

“When I was going to school, my dad was a farmer, so he was rich on paper,” Aileen, who worked multiple jobs in college, said. “You can’t sell your land and still be able to make ends meet, but when I applied for financial aid, they looked at the land and said, ‘You should be able to afford this on your own.’ Now that we’re older, we can finally afford to set up this endowment to help students who really need support.”

For many years, David and Aileen have hosted dinners and NDSU football watch parties at their farmstead, inviting guests from NDSU and the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), friends, and neighbors — as well as visitors from around the world — to join in fellowship and enjoy their Bison-themed den, which includes yellow and green string lights, a Lego recreation of the Fargodome, and a whimsical collection of NDSU memorabilia that continues to grow. For one of the championship games, they hosted more than 75 people.

David and Aileen love being ambassadors of NDSU because of the education and opportunities they received as students and the relationships and Bison pride that continue to flourish well beyond graduation.

“We want to promote NDSU so more students come here, because you do get a good education and a good college experience,” David said. “It was enjoyable this fall when we got to meet the students who received our scholarships. Next year, we’ll have six scholarships that we’re giving out, and we want to keep doing that.”

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