Northland College has awarded its 2017 Philanthropist of the Year Award to Jim and Beth Hagstrom of Madison, Wisconsin.

The Philanthropist of the Year award recognizes an individual, couple, or family who has demonstrated exceptional support of Northland College and its unique educational mission.

“This award allows Northland College to recognize the Hagstroms’ efforts to guide and support the College’s future and enable us to better serve our students and community,” said Northland College President Michael A. Miller.

Jim Hagstrom, who grew up in Ashland, is a molecular biologist, co-founder and owner of Mirus Bio LLC, an inventor with more than 150 patents and an entrepreneur.

He has never lost sight of his roots in Ashland, however.

In 2012, He and Beth purchased the empty Bodin’s storefront by Maslowski Beach on Lake Superior with a plan to build something that would bring vibrancy to the lakeshore, the Ashland community, and Northland College. With their son, Brian as the architect, the Hagstrom family created Blue Wave on the Bay, now Freehands Lakeside, and opened in 2015.

Beth Hagstrom spent nearly every day there for two years, running the hotel, restaurant, and retail space. Beth and Jim Hagstrom donated the property and business to Northland College in 2016.

Jim Hagstrom has served on the Northland College Board of Trustees since 2012. In addition to the gift of the Blue Wave, the Hagstroms have been supportive of the College’s ongoing operations, the athletic programs, and the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute.

“Through their commitment and support, Northland College has made great strides over the past several years toward its institutional goals,” Miller said. “Jim and Beth are an energetic, civic-minded, creative pair, deserving this award — Northland College is lucky to have them on our team.”

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