Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Former U of M president Hasselmo dies

Nils Hasselmo

MINNEAPOLIS - Nils Hasselmo, a native of Sweden who led the University of Minnesota for nine years as its 13th president, died Wednesday, Jan. 23, of prostate cancer. He was 87.

“The University of Minnesota has lost a dedicated member of our community. Nils was a remarkable higher education leader, and our University is better because of his service,” U of M President Eric Kaler said in statement.

Hasselmo served as the U’s president from 1988 through 1997, a tenure marked by efforts to lower class size, hire more advisers and raise the quality of the student body.

He also oversaw the contentious closing of the Waseca campus and the then-unsuccessful closing of the General College on the Twin Cities campus; fired the medical school’s famed transplant surgeon John Najarian over a drug scandal; and clashed with the Board of Regents and state Legislature over funding and academic tenure matters.

Hasselmo was a graduate of Uppsala University in his native Sweden. He also earned a degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.