MARILYN HAGERTY: Persistence is key in long awaited UND degree

Forty-three years have passed since Doug Norby of Grand Forks started out as a freshman at UND. He says he had a good time out there, but he forgot to go to class.

Forty-three years have passed since Doug Norby of Grand Forks started out as a freshman at UND. He says he had a good time out there, but he forgot to go to class.

On Saturday, Norby will walk across the stage and receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree during commencement exercises at the Alerus Center.

Norby, who is 60, had open heart surgery in November. But he kept plodding along with a college diploma as his goal. He says he did it partly for the family. He wants to show his three children and five grandchildren that he values education.

Norby re-enrolled in college in 2007. He took one class in photography. He got so enthusiastic about the School of Fine Arts that he kept on taking classes.

His wife Sandy, who is the designer at the family business of Norby's Work Perks downtown, was patient and encouraging as Doug became a late in life student. Their son, Matthew, who has a college degree, worked with his mother to keep things going.


Monday, Norby will be back to his business. He'll probably have his diploma in his hip pocket. He will withstand the joking that comes his way. They tell him business doubled when he was back in college.

Along with grandchildren cheering him on, Norby will have a Red River High School friend, Steve Stolee, in his cheering section. Stolee is making the trip back from Washington to Grand Forks to see this graduation with his own eyes.

Diplomas and fish

The weekend arrives with graduation ceremonies at UND and walleye and pike fishing season opening in Minnesota. . . Mayor Lynn Stauss says they are celebrating Arbor Day today in East Grand Forks. . . River Cities Speedway is offering family fun tonight . . . And there's a free Senior Citizen Prom tonight at Red River High School with music by the Dick King Swing Band. .

A Unite and Fight to End Brain Tumors Walk/Run begins Saturday morning at Lincoln Park. . . And a Letter Carriers Food Drive is scheduled for Saturday when patrons are asked to put non-perishable donations in a bag by the mailbox. . .

The general commencement for UND graduates is set for the Alerus Center Saturday afternoon ... And new doctors flowing from UND will receive their diplomas Sunday afternoon at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. . .

Ask Marilyn

Q. What's up with the Whitey's Café sitting empty in East Grand Forks?


A. They are holding a public auction at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Q. What are you supposed to say if you meet up with one of the three new Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors at UND?

A. You don't have to curtsy, but a heartfelt congratulations would be in order if you run across Joseph Hartman, Wayne Seames or Roxanne Vaughan. They will be honored during commencement Saturday.

Q. What is Treasure Omdahl looking for?

A. Well, she believes in looking ahead. She is trying to contact Delta Delta Delta sorority alumnae from UND in 1961. They are planning a gathering during homecoming in the fall. The group also is seeking information about others in the house between 1958 and 1962. She is reachable at telephone 218-773-0149.

Cheerful persons of the week:

Joe Miedema, Deb Johnson of Aneta, N.D.

Reach Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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