Marilyn Hagerty, the long-time Grand Forks Herald columnist and journalism treasure was lured to the University of North Dakota campus last night with the story that there was a meeting with legal representatives of UND.
Instead, there was a ceremony to give her the UND Spirit Award and an honorary masters in community engagement.
“I’m going to need a cocktail,” said the 91-year-old columnist, best known around the country as the author of a restaurant review of an Olive Garden.
Says the Herald:
Hagerty’s own spirit and long-running support of UND were highlighted by speakers through the brief evening ceremony. UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo recalled meeting Hagerty for the first time when the two served as judges a few years ago in UND’s Potato Bowl festivities.
“She seems to know everyone … and is certainly our very own local celebrity,” DiLorenzo said. The provost referenced Hagerty’s long-running recognition of the “cheerful people of the week” and plugged his own candidacy for the award while building a case for Hagerty’s “unwavering” commitment to UND and Grand Forks.
Carlson Zink carried that thread in her own remarks, telling the audience how Hagerty hosted Thanksgiving dinners for UND athletes living far from home—even hosting Canadian Thanksgivings for those of the northern persuasion—as well as how she followed students of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences all the way through their academic careers.
Hagerty did not indicate whether the twin honors ranked higher than the one Grand Forks bestowed on her a few years ago when it named a sewage lift station after her.