Gus Nordin never went to UMD, but thanks to his memorial scholarship, his name is known to journalism students and professors.
Sherry Hall, Nordin's stepdaughter, said that though he was not able to go to college due to economic circumstances caused by the Depression, Nordin knew the importance of higher education. Later in his career, he pressed the Minnesota state legislature for funds for the University of Minnesota Duluth.
"He was a journalist his entire life, from the time he took his first writing assignments for local weeklies, while a high school student," said Hall. "He believed in journalism. Believed in informing people as a critical part of the society we live in. That an important element of maintaining freedom in our country is a healthy journalism community. His leadership and integrity as a journalist were reasons why the idea of the scholarship came together for us."
Nordin was born in Duluth in 1911; his parents and siblings were Swedish immigrants. He graduated from Denfeld High School in 1930, and right away began reporting for the combined Duluth Herald and News Tribune, where eventually he would become the managing editor and then executive editor in the 1950s. He was an active civic leader, father, and husband.
From 1944 through 1950, Nordin was White House correspondent for Northwest Publications, which included a number of Midwest dailies. During the period, he covered many fascinating political stories, including the death of FDR. From the nation's capital, he also sent weekly political columns and hosted a radio show, interviewing national political leaders for outlets in Minneapolis and Duluth.
In 1958, Nordin became general manager of the Pasadena, California, Independent-Star News. In 1964 he married Mary Nordin, who would later established the journalism scholarship at UMD and who resides in Duluth. In 1970, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a series he wrote based on interviews with American Army deserters living in Scandinavia. In 1977, Nordin retired from the newspaper business, eventually returning to Duluth to consult for KDAL-TV three years before he died at the age of 77.
"Good journalism is critically important," said Edwin Hall, Sherry's husband. "We were very much in awe and admiration of Gus. We are carrying on for Mary, but also UMD and the journalism scholarship are endeavors we strongly believe in ourselves."
" Though he never went to college, Gus shared his talent and mentored young college-educated journalists throughout his career. If he could come back today and meet these
Nordin scholars, he would love it. He absolutely would adore these kids," said Sherry Hall.