Carleton Myron Opgaard was born in Fort Ransom in Ransom County, North Dakota. The Opgaard family had immigrated for Norway. Opgaard obtained his bachelor's degree from Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota in 1952. Thereafter, he received his master's degree from the University of Wyoming in Laramie and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. He attended the University of Oslo in Norway as a Fulbright scholar. In his initial administrative assignment, Opgaard was principal of Edmonds Woodway High School in Edmonds, Washington.
In 1969, he was the founding president of Malaspina University-College now called Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. During the centennial of the college, he was the president of Dakota State University (1978–1983) in Madison, South Dakota. He also served as president of Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington, (1983–1990). He later served as interim president at Columbia Basin College and Edmonds Community College in Washington.
- Waldemar Theodor Ager, Norwegian immigrant author in America (University of Wyoming, 1957)
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