NMU Foundation

’54 Grad Leaves Substantial Bequest

An Upper Peninsula native and Northern Michigan University graduate has made a substantial bequest to her alma mater.
Olive (Kuehnl) Sain ‘54 BS passed away at the age of 98 in Marquette. She was raised in Bruce Crossing and graduated from Ewen High School. At NMU she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from the College of Technical and Applied Sciences. She later earned a master of science degree from Michigan State University.

Portrait of Olive SainOlive taught in Ontonagon County for seven years before beginning a thirteen-year career as home economist with the Michigan State University Extension in Marquette County. Olive’s interests varied widely from her membership in the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club to playing in the Ontonagon County Brass Band. She volunteered at Marquette General Hospital for over 25 years and donated her time and talent to many causes in her church and community.

The Olive Ann Kuehnl Sain Scholarship Fund will provide financial support for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Priority will be given to graduates of Ewen-Trout Creek High School and preference to students with majors in health-related fields. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

“Olive Kuehnl Sain was a strong student during her days at Northern and just as strong of an alumni role model throughout her life,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “Because of her final gift to NMU, many Upper Peninsula students will have the chance to gain an outstanding collegiate experience that will help them to launch their own successful health-related careers. In this way, Olive will continue to play an important role for generations to come in the vitality of her alma mater, as well as the home region that she so loved.” 

David Wood, NMU Honors Program director, added, “This gift confirms, too, the extraordinary successes of our health-related programs on the NMU campus: our thriving research labs, pre-medical programs, and School of Nursing. In this sense, the Sain Scholarship could not have come at a better time. On behalf of the NMU campus community,” Wood continued, “I offer my most sincere thanks to Olive Sain and her family for implementing what will surely aid NMU student successes for years to come.”

From 'Cat to Pack

The Impact of Scholarship and Determination to Make a Dream Come True

By Vince Grout

Kyle Steuck

It didn’t take long for Kyle Steuck ‘16 BS to make a difference as a Wildcat after coming to NMU in 2011 from West DePere High School in Wisconsin, right next door to Green Bay. He was named the team’s offensive newcomer of the year and team captain in 2014 and 2015. Throughout his time at Northern, he excelled on the field and in the classroom. This year, Steuck was selected for membership in the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society, which comprises college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher throughout their college career. 

According to Rob Boss ‘09 BS, the Wildcat offensive line coach and run game coordinator, “He was a tremendous student in the classroom and the meeting room. He did a great job leading both on and off the field for our program, and we’re very proud of him.”

Steuck graduated in May with degrees in both secondary and physical education and immediately began giving back. He started student teaching and helping coach at Ashwaubenon High School and was signed up to start as a teaching aide in the West De Pere school district this fall.

Last May, he participated in a Green Bay Packers mini-camp and was told to stay ready. He continued his workouts at a local training center just three miles from Lambeau Field and, in August, Green Bay signed him to play center as an undrafted rookie. As Steuck described it in September to packers.com, it was a dream come true. “It’s that YES! moment where you’ve been working so hard and now it’s here.”

During the exhibition season, Steuck suffered a broken fibula and was placed on injured reserve. Despite this setback, however, he remains undaunted; he told the Milwaukee Sentinel that he was eager to resume his pursuit of an NFL career: “I worked my butt off day in and day out. That’s how I was raised by my Mom and Dad. If you want something, you’ve got to work for it.”

With that kind of dedication and perseverance, it’s no wonder that Kyle was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Buck Nystrom Scholarship.

The Buck Nystrom Endowed Football Scholarship was created to honor the legendary NMU Wildcat football coach. During his 40-year coaching career, Buck had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of Wildcat players and coaches.

According to alumnus and member of the 1975 national championship team, Steve Mariucci ’77 BS, ’83 MAE, “Coach Buck taught us discipline, commitment, effort, enthusiasm and pride. These are the core tenets of his Fourth Quarter Program and principles we have carried with us ever since we had the honor of playing for him.”

Clearly these are values that Steuck has embraced as a student-athlete and as a graduate.

Recently we caught up with Kyle to discuss his opportunities and experiences at Northern Michigan University.

Were there opportunities here at NMU that you feel might not have been available at other schools you considered attending?

Without a doubt. NMU had the widest range of majors and minors (I was undecided coming into college), which was a big selling point for me. The people here were amazing to work with as well. NMU athletically gave me an opportunity to play scholarship college football in the best D2 [Division II] conference in the nation.

Kyle on a bike with the text, "Embracing tradition as Kyle takes his Lombardi bicycle to practice"Was there a particular coach or faculty member at NMU who inspired or influenced you?

I could not be where I am at today if it were not for Coach Ostrowsky and Coach Boss. They helped me on and off the field and cared about my success. In my opinion, there are no better coaches in the nation. Mrs. Linda Ludwig [‘03 MAE] in the education department, Mr. Brian Myers in the PE department, and Miss Breanne Carlson [‘08 BS, ‘12 MS] in the health department were major influences in my academics at Northern. They helped push me to be the best student I could be and I cannot thank them enough for that!

What do you think helped you prepare for a tryout with the Packers?

I think always being the “underdog” in my life, my college coaching, and my training all really helped me prepare for my time with the Packers. I was always an underdog and was always told I was “too small” for playing college football. NMU gave me a chance to prove wrong everyone who ever said that. There is no better offensive line coach in the nation than Rob Boss and what he taught me throughout my time with the ‘Cats is what truly made me a better football player. I train every year in my hometown of Green Bay at Synergy Sports and they always do an amazing job at getting me in shape and making sure I am physically ready for whatever workout/tryout I have.  

You were the first recipient of the Buck Nystrom Scholarship. What are your thoughts about receiving this support?

I could not be more thankful. Buck is an amazing coach and an even better person. Playing at NMU you hear that name come up a lot and to be the first recipient of the Buck Nystrom Scholarship means the world to me. I will forever be grateful for that. 

What are your plans going forward? 

The plan is to keep doing my rehab and working out to try and come back from my injury. Whatever happens after that, happens. If things don’t go as planned and football does not work out, I intend to use my degree from NMU and teach somewhere in the state of Wisconsin. 

What advice do you have for an NMU student-athlete who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Work hard in everything you do in life because success is a direct result of hard work.  And dream big. It was always a dream growing up in Green Bay to play for the Packers, and I made that dream a reality. 

If you would like to know more about supporting NMU Athletics, please contact Jess Jones at 906-227-2662 or email jesjones@nmu.edu.