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UND professor's students honored for success

James Hagerty's strongest memory of late UND journalism professor Alvin Austin involves a trip to Chicago, Playboy bunnies and a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

James Hagerty

James Hagerty's strongest memory of late UND journalism professor Alvin Austin involves a trip to Chicago, Playboy bunnies and a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

In 1977, a group of Austin's students drove out to Philadelphia for a journalists' convention and stopped in Chicago.

Austin, who was the chaperone, contacted Irv Kupcinet, a "very famous gossip columnist" for the Chicago Sun-Times who also happened to be a UND alumnus, recalled Hagerty.

Kupcinet was too busy to meet with the students, but arranged for the group to visit the Chicago Playboy Club.

"We were served drinks by these Playboy bunnies," said Hagerty. "They were probably more covered up than some of the girl's at Hooters. We finally got out of there around midnight, and I was really tired, but Al announced that we were going to go out and see, as he put it, 'raw Chicago.'"

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Hagerty never found out what that meant. "I said to hell with it and went back to sleep," he said.

Hagerty, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who lives in Pittsburgh, said he was very pleased with the honor of receiving the 2013 Austin Legacy Award, which was presented to him and three others Friday at UND.

The award honors alumni and previous students of Austin who succeeded in the communications field. Hagerty, for instance, has been an editor and bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune in several major cities.

"It brings back a lot of great memories of my time at UND, and it's a great reason to come back to Grand Forks to see my mom," he said, referring to Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty.

Jack McDonald, a senior partner at the Wheeler Wolf Law Firm in Bismarck, also received the award.

"I was very honored and pleased to receive the award," he said. "Al played a big role in my life and in the life of a lot of young journalists at the time."

McDonald specializes in First Amendment and communications law, and has represented the North Dakota Newspaper Association and Prairie Public Broadcasting, among others.

Other award recipients include Seattle resident David Iverson, current owner and operator of A Cook's Tour, which organizes cooking tours around the world and the U.S., and Judy Sullivan Dawson, a Florida-based writer, editor, columnist, reviewer and communications consultant.

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Call Johnson at (701) 787-6736, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1736 or send e-mail to jjohnson@gfherald.com .

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