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Response to “And Then It Happened,” Summer 2020
Is there something about the water in
small town Northeast Iowa ... benefiting Minnesota and the world?
Reading your fine article and others
[in the summer issue] about Michael
Osterholm, I am struck by the uncanny
life and career similarities between
him and another of the University’s
most highly esteemed alumni, the late
Dr. Norman Borlaug, a 1970 Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate.
Dr. Osterholm, of course, is a current world-renowned professor and
director of the Center for Infectious
Disease Research and Policy at the
Both individuals were born and
raised in Northeast Iowa, Borlaug on a
farm near Cresco, where he attended
high school in a town of just under
4,000 inhabitants; Osterholm in Waukon, also a town of just under 4,000,
located 40 miles east of Cresco. Both
were high school athletes and scholars
of modest accomplishment (undersized football linemen, questionable
college prospects). Both were also
unassuming persons of Scandinavian
American Lutheran heritage who
experienced significant, but different,
stressors in their lives growing up.
Both ultimately found their academic
legs as undergrads, went to graduate
school at the U of M, and earned
doctorates in scientific disciplines.
Both became internationally acclaimed
leaders in their respective fields of
expertise. Faced with dire threats to
mankind, both are credited with bodies
of work saving countless lives.
Borlaug always remained loyal to
his roots at the U of M and in Iowa,
and Osterholm very much continues
to do so as well.
Don Henry, Ph.D. ’71
St. Paul, MN
Thanks for a great summer issue. A
great variety of topics, all timely and so
well written. Your publication is great!
David L. Duval M.D., M.A. ’69 Fargo, N.D.