Despite being on hold, Peter Nygard's scholarship remained on UND's website until this month
The scholarship was placed on hold when news of the allegations broke in 2020, according to Meloney Linder, vice president of marketing and communications at UND. The fact it remained on UND’s website was an oversight, she said.
Despite being placed on hold in 2020, a scholarship founded by Peter Nygard, a UND graduate and fashion mogul who is facing multiple charges of sex trafficiking and sexual assault, remained on the school’s website until recently.
An individual contacted the Herald wondering why UND was still offering the Nygard International Student scholarship, considering the charges against him. Nygard is facing charges in both Canada and the United States, and he is awaiting extradition to the U.S.
According to Meloney Linder, vice president of marketing and communications at UND, the scholarship was placed on hold when news of the allegations broke in 2020. The fact it remained on UND’s website was an oversight, she said. The page was removed on Jan. 7. The scholarship will remain on hold until verdicts are reached regarding the charges.
“Once we know what happens there, then the university obviously will have to determine our path forward,” said Linder.
Linder said all references to the scholarship should now be off the website. Searching the internet for it will yield results, including a link to UND’s scholarship application portal, but clicking it only takes a person to the website’s scholarship landing page. Other links leading to an application can be found online, but those are not found on UND’s website.
Nygard graduated from UND in 1964. He founded the fashion company Nygard International, in Winnipeg. The scholarship was set up through the company, Linder said.
According to Milo Smith, senior director of public relations for the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, the scholarship was set up with a $30,000 gift in 1990. The value of that scholarship has grown to $61,000, as of Sept. 30, 2021. Endowment funds are pooled together and invested Smith said, but individual endowments can be tracked.
The scholarship had very specific requirements for it to be awarded, and it was not awarded every year. It was meant to “motivate enterprising young individuals to seek the highest level of achievement in their chosen career paths.” Students received $5,000 from the scholarship. The most recent award went to a student in the 2019-20 academic year.
The scholarship was limited to international students. If more than one student qualified for the scholarship, it rotated between Winnipeg students of Finnish ancestry, Canadian students of Finnish ancestry, Finnish students of Finnish ancestry and Bahamian students.
The latter is presumably a nod to a home Nygard owned in the Bahamas, sometimes referred to as Nygard Cay. According to a February 2020 New York Times report, Nygard allegedly used his company and the prospect of a modeling career to lure women to the home. That month, a federal lawsuit against Nygard was filed in New York on behalf of 10 women who accused him of sexually assaulting them.
Nygard is in custody in Toronto, Ontario. According to Reuters, he had a bail hearing on Jan. 7, which will be continued on Jan. 14. He has agreed to extradition to the U.S., but the final decision on whether that will happen must be made by Canada’s justice minister.