Four long-ago high school recipients of the Marshall H. and Nellie Alworth Scholarship will gather Thursday in Duluth for an honorary ceremony and luncheon.

Jim Sponnick, a former Alworth scholarship recipient who graduated from Duluth East in 1978, went on to become one of the country's most accomplished space engineers and work in partnership with NASA. He will be the keynote speaker.

The event celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Marshall H. and Nellie Alworth Memorial Fund, which has awarded more than 5,100 scholarships to high school students in northern Minnesota since its origin.

Another speaker is Alve Erickson, who graduated from Chisholm High School and later created a design for Velcro that helps protects soldiers and military vehicles. All four onetime recipients will be honored with lifetime achievement awards.

The ceremony is not open to the public.