Bruce A. Nord

Bruce Nord

Bruce Allen Nord was one of the founding faculty in 1960 at UMN Morris. He served as a Sociology and Anthropology professor and was actively involved in bringing an international focus to the curriculum and expanding study abroad opportunities for students.


born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 1

graduated from South High School

graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Sociology

married Judith Tjosaas

started at UMN Morris as a sociology and anthropology professor

graduated from the University of Chicago with a M.A. in Sociology

created the UMM International Dimensions and Study Center

retired from UMN Morris

died in Upland, California on September 2

Personal Life

Bruce Nord was born on September 1, 1934 in Minneapolis, MN to Herbert and Myrtle Nord. He attended South High School and graduated in 1952.[1] After high school he attended college at the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1956 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology.[2] In 1957 he married Judith Tjosaas. That same year he began his studies at the University of Chicago for his graduate degree.[3] In the fall of 1964 he graduated with an M.A. in sociology.[4]

Bruce Nord was one of the original 13 faculty members at UMN Morris. Hired by Rodney Briggs in 1960, Nord taught both sociology and anthropology. He was interested in the role of the media, rural sociology and issues involving economic development. Much of his published work focused on social policy and development in Mexico.[5] Nord was the first in his family to receive not only a high school diploma, but an undergraduate and graduate degree.[6]

He and his wife, Judy, raised three children in Morris. Nord combined teaching with rural life, taking care of 80 acres of land and maintaining a garden and an apple orchard of 150 trees.[7]


Research and Teaching

Nord continued to teach in both sociology and anthropology throughout his career. He was especially interested in Mexican social policy, and after his retirement he published two books on the subject: Mexican Social Policy: Affordability, Conflict and Progress and Mexico City’s Alternative Futures.[8] Earlier in his career he combined his interest in development with a focus on the media and freedom of the press.[9] He brought his interest in the media to a class he taught for the Morris Campus Union Board's (MCUB) Free University series called “The Newspaper and Its Use” in 1971.[10]

Rodney Briggs recalled in a 1976 interview that Nord arrived on campus without any teaching experience and that he struggled early on in delivering lectures. Not to be deterred, he procured a tape recorder. He began to record his lectures, play them back and then critique his performance. He also asked colleagues to listen to the tapes and share their thoughts.[11]

Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Nord participated in efforts to bring educational opportunities to the greater Western Central Minnesota area. For multiple years he was a part of several seminar series as part of a project led by UMN Morris and the Minnesota Humanities Commissions.[12]

The first seminar he led in the project in 1973 was for the series of seminars called “Quality of Life in Western Minnesota” that focused on the small town of Minnesota. He presented his lecture titled: “Demographic and Cultural Changes and Their Impact Upon Rural Economic and Social Indicators.” He presented this seminar in Fergus Falls alongside Roy Grohs, an economics professor.[13] The following year he delivered a second talk, this time in Breckenridge and entitled, "Is Minnesota a Good Place to Live?".[14]

Campus Contributions

One of Nord’s lasting impacts on the UMN Morris campus is his expansion of international travel and study opportunities for students. In 1976, he created the International Dimensions and Study Center to organize study abroad opportunities for students and to manage domestic and international travel.[15] 

In the 1970s, through this center and the International Programs Office, Nord built up larger programs for students. This included the Hungarian Exchange Program that allowed students to study abroad in Hungary for an entire year.[16] Other opportunities included work programs like the United Nations Intern Program.[17] Nord promoted these opportunities through the Annual International Emphasis Week. He coordinated the events of the week which included speakers, debates, dances, travel fairs, feature films, and discussion opportunities. These events over the course of the week worked to promote the importance of an international experience for students during their college years and the ability to integrate it into their academic goals.[18]

In the 1980s Nord continued to foster interest in international programs on the UMN Morris Campus. In 1981 the campus joined the International Student Exchange Program allowing students to travel to and from Morris internationally for academic enrichment.[19] As the international programs committee coordinator he assisted in creating programs to study in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Kassel, Germany, and organized projects for Amity Among Nations which allowed students to teach abroad.[20] He was able to enjoy some of these opportunities himself and in 1981 he led a summer trip to Mexico where he taught classes on Mexican culture.[21]

Outside international programs, Nord was involved in other campus committees and projects. In 1971 he was the staff representative for the Minority Students Committee which worked to bring in a more substantial number of minority students to the campus. The committee was in charge of reviewing programs proposed to UMN Morris and advised the Provost on which would best assist in recruitment and retention.[22] He was also involved in efforts to solve the budget crisis in 1981. He was a part of a meeting of faculty members for the UMM Chapter of the American Association of University Professors which tried to create solutions to the budget problems. He was appointed by the group to serve on the salary committee to investigate any solutions that could be found in that area.[23]

Nord was also involved in other campus-wide projects, including the creation of the so-called "The Whole Campus Guide to Tools for Research and Aesthetic Activities." This was a collaborative effort involving both faculty and students and headed up by Nord that sought to identify resources--both financial and material--for campus researchers and artists.[24] He was, however, less effective in other endeavors, participating in intramural sports[25] and pitching for the overmatched and winless faculty softball team in 1962.[26]

After UMN Morris

Bruce Nord retired from UMN Morris in 1990 and moved to California. He died in Upland on September 2, 2014.

Deanna Small
Stephen Gross (Editor)


[1] University Relations, “Profile: Well Founded,” Profile (Morris, MN), Winter/Spring 2015.
[2] University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Commencement Program, University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy, 1956.
[3] University Relations, “Profile: Well Founded,” Profile (Morris, MN), Winter/Spring 2015.
[4] University of Chicago, University of Chicago Convocation Program, University of Chicago Library, December 18, 1964.
[5] University Relations, “Profile: Well Founded,” Profile (Morris, MN), Winter/Spring 2015.
[6] Rodney A. Briggs, interview by Wilbert Ahern and Charles Brunette, July 30, 1976, transcript, University of Minnesota Morris Stories, West Central Minnesota Historical Research Center, Morris, MN.
[7] University Relations, “Profile: Well Founded,” Profile (Morris, MN), Winter/Spring 2015.
[8] University Relations, “Profile: Well Founded,” Profile (Morris, MN), Winter/Spring 2015.
[9] Seminar topic: Rural Minnesota: Is Development Worth the Price?Vanguard (Morris, MN), Apr. 29, 1974.
[10] Lessons for Life,Vanguard (Morris, MN), October 4, 1971.
[11] Interview of Dr. Rodney Briggs by Chuck Brunette and Bert Ahern, 30 July 1976, in the Digital Well.
[12] Seminar topic: Rural Minnesota: Is Development Worth the Price?Vanguard (Morris, MN), Apr. 29, 1974.
[13] “Small Town Seminars set,” Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minnesota), April 6, 1973.
[14] “Seminar topic: Rural Minnesota: Is Development Worth the Price?
Vanguard (Morris, MN), Apr. 29, 1974.
[15] International Dimensions & Study Center,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), Oct. 19, 1976.
[16] Hungarian Exchange Program,” Campus Community Writer (Morris, MN), April 14, 1975.
[17] Opportunity Corner,” Campus Community Writer (Morris, MN), March 8, 1976.
[18] “3rd Annual International Emphasis Week,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), January 31, 1978.
[19] Kevin Hein, “UMM Students can participate in international student exchange,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), February 25, 1981.
[20] Bruce Slinden, “Broadening your horizons: travel opportunity at UMM,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), February 11, 1981.
[21] Lorenzo, Alvarez, “140 Libertad,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), October 30, 1982.
[22] Minority Student Proposal,” Vanguard (Morris, MN), January 21, 1971.
[23] Marta Coursey, “Faculty enlisting in fight to support UMM in the budget crisis,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), November 4, 1981.
[24] UMM News Service, “Whole Campus Guide Available,” Morris Weekly (Morris, MN), January 10, 1978.
[25] Birds, Yanks Win; Faculty Loses,” Vanguard (Morris, MN), May 10, 1962.
[26] Cubs Win Championship,” Vanguard (Morris, MN), June 4, 1962.

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