Nils Hasselmo

Of Counsel

Nils Hasselmo is President Emeritus of the University of Minnesota and of the Association of American Universities.

A native of Sweden, Hasselmo 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. After teaching at Augustana College and the University of Wisconsin, 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 and served in this capacity until 1997. He then assumed the presidency of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an association of sixty American and two Canadian research universities and served in that capacity until 2006. He has served as consultant to American and Swedish universities and other not-for-profit organizations and  to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the United Arab Emirates. His work has also included leadership and board development as well as presidential and board evaluations. As president of the University Minnesota and the Association of American Universities, Hasselmo visited universities in Europe, Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia and met with university leaders and University of Minnesota alumni in those countries.

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 American and Scandinavian universities.

Hasselmo has served as chair of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, now the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), 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 boards 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 the Friends of Uppsala University in North America.

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, I 976; and the Sandburg Medal, 1989; he was selected as Swedish-American of the Year by the Swedish government and the Vasa Order in 1991. He has been elected to membership in several Swedish scholarly societies, and holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University, Augustana College, and North Park University.