Nils Hasselmo

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Nils Hasselmo
President of
the University of Minnesota
In office
Preceded by Kenneth H. Keller
Succeeded by Mark Yudof
Personal details
Born (1931-07-02) July 2, 1931 (age 86)
Värmland County, Sweden
Alma mater Uppsala University
Augustana College
Harvard University

Nils Hasselmo (born July 2, 1931) was the thirteenth president of the University of Minnesota, serving from 1988 to 1997. He went on to become the president of the Association of American Universities from 1998 to 2006.[1]


Hasselmo was born in Köla parish in Värmland County, Sweden. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Scandinavian languages and literature at Uppsala University, and did his military service in the Royal Signal Corps, including officer's training. As a scholarship student in the United States in 1956-57, he received a B.A. at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. He finished a Ph.D. in linguistics from Harvard University in 1961.[2]


After teaching at Augustana and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Hasselmo joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1965. During the next 18 years at Minnesota, he served as chair of the Department of Scandinavian Languages and Literature and director of the Center for Northwest European Language and Area Studies, associate dean and executive officer of the College of Liberal Arts, and vice president for administration and planning. In 1983, he left Minnesota to serve for five and a half years as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Arizona. He returned to the University of Minnesota as its 13th president in December 1988.

Hasselmo's scholarly work has focused on the study of bilingualism and language contact, including books and articles on the Swedish language in America. He was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in Sweden and Iceland in 1968-69, and has lectured and served in visiting appointments at Scandinavian universities.

Hasselmo has served as chair of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the Big Ten Council of Presidents, and the Minnesota Higher Education Advisory Council. He has been president of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and the Swedish-American Historical Society, and chairman of the Swedish Council of America, an umbrella organization with 300 affiliates. He has served, or serves, on the board of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the Universities' Research Association, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Council on Library and Information Resources, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, and a number of other scholarly, educational, civic, and cultural organizations.[3]

Hasselmo has been the recipient of honors such as the Royal Order of the North Star by the King of Sweden, 1973; King Carl XVI Gustaf's Bicentennial Medal in Gold, 1976; and the Sandburg Medal, 1989; he was selected as Swedish-American of the Year by the Swedish government and the Vasa Order of America in 1991. He has been elected to membership in several Swedish scholarly societies, and holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University (1979)[4] , Augustana College, and North Park University.[5] [6][7]

Nils Hasselmo Hall[edit]

Metro Transit buses at Washington Avenue bus stop on north side of Coffman Memorial Union. Glass-covered Hasselmo Hall and tall concrete Moos Health Science Tower in background. Union on right.

Following his retirement as President of the University of Minnesota, the Basic Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Building was renamed the Nils Hasselmo Hall. [8]

Nils Hasselmo Papers[edit]

The papers of Nils and Patricia Hasselmo, covering the period 1960s-1997, are located in University of Minnesota Archives.[9]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Kenneth H. Keller
President of the University of Minnesota
1988 — 1997
Succeeded by
Mark Yudof