Marilyn Hagerty gets her moment

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.

  • John

    Bob – have you met Marilyn?

    You seem pretty unflappable, but I have this vision of you turning into a total fanboy meeting her.

    • MrE85

      I was the same way when I met Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Starstruck.

    • I already am a fanboy. For reasons previously stated:

      • John

        I had no doubt. Starstruck was the word I was missing this morning (thanks E85).

        The video reel in my head has you stumbling around for words like a 12 year old girl meeting the boy band of the week.

        • Gary F

          Bob signed up for the fan club: Monthly newsletter, special password to her secret reviews online, and the Oliver Garden bib.

          • You got a problem with that?

          • He’s just jealous.

          • Gary F


          • Gary F

            Bob, I think you need to make a road trip up there and do a “special feature” for MPR news. Take her out to lunch at Burger Time or Olive Garden, and interview her. Find out what makes her tick. Get a cocktail or two in her and let her talk. I bet she’s got great stories to tell, not just restaurants, but the history of Grand Forks, floods, hockey, grand kids, or just about anything. You don’t go 91 years without having a few stories in you. I bet she’s as genuine as we think she is.

            If MPR wont pay for the meal, send me the bill. Go big or go home.

          • RBHolb

            Anderson Cooper had her as a guest on his short-lived daytime show. Yes, she was a wonderful guest.

  • Gary F

    She needed a cocktail… hhmmmm………

    What is Marilyn’s go to cocktail?

    My gut says something like a brandy 7, buy my heart says she’s VSOP, neat.

    Or something old school like a Rusty Nail, Manhattan, or Alexander.

    • Angry Jonny

      I’d wager she’s an Old Fashioned kinda gal.

      • Jim in RF


    • RBHolb


  • ec99

    “journalism treasure”

    Sorry to be a curnudgeon, but any relation of journalism to Ms. Hagerty is purely coincidental. Her restaurant “reviews” have never been more than advertisements, including McDs, BK, and even the jail mess hall. She is to them as Sid Hartman is to Twin Cities sports.

    • This is pretty much the snobbery I’ve referred to in the past.

      She’s actually better at journalism and understanding what it is than 99% of journalists.

      • ec99

        Not snobbery, fact. Her late husband would probably gag at what the newspaper he was editor of has become.

        • My guess is you know little about Marilyn Hagerty other than a few restaurant reviews.

          The fact that she graduated from college with a journalism degree IN THE’40s and went on to a career while being a woman is a place to start.

          Women have a place in newsrooms today. She’s one of the reasons why.

          Features reporters are never going to get the respect that “real” journalists get.