Honoring Her Husband While Supporting Her Children


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Before joining the faculty here, Professor Odlaug earned his undergraduate degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and his doctorate from New York University. It was during his summer break from NYU, while visiting relatives in Nevis, Minnesota, that he met Lucille. After they were married, Professor Odlaug taught in colleges in New York, Montana and Nebraska. He worked as an aquatic biologist for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife in Gig Harbor, Washington. He began his career in Duluth in 1945 as a professor of zoology at the former Duluth State Teachers College, which later became UMD. Lucille remembers the trek students and faculty had to take to get from Old Main up to the science building, the sole building on the new UMD campus. "We called it the Yukon Trail," she said. "They didn't shovel the snow, the path was just too long, so everyone had to make their way through the snowdrifts to get to class." 

In addition to teaching courses in Animal Parasitology, Helminthology, Human Anatomy, Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates, Oceanography, and Water Quality Investigative and Research Techniques, Professor Odlaug did research on Lake Superior and spent summers at the UMD Limnological Research Center on London Road. One of his projects was to collect plankton samples by using a device that was towed behind an ore carrier. In addition, his research on parasite life histories was published widely, and he authored a laboratory manual on the anatomy of the fetal pig, a work that is still in print, now in its eleventh edition. 

Lucille Odlaug said that Professor Odlaug's greatest joy was to teach. She said, "He did it wholeheartedly and with love and he was always so excited when one of his students got into medical school." 

Lucille believes in UMD. She has made three charitable gift annuities herself, to add to the scholarship that was established in Professor Odlaug's name by a former student. Here's how Lucille's gift annuities work. She made gifts of cash to the University of Minnesota Foundation for the benefit of UMD and the Foundation invests the assets. UMD guarantees to pay Lucille; Lucille's daughter, Margaret; and son, Michael, an annual payment for life. That way, Lucille can leave something for her children and help UMD at the same time. Margaret graduated from UMD in 1959 with an economics and business administration A.A. degree; Michael received his undergraduate degree in biology from UMD in 1967, an M.S. in marine biology from the University of Washington in 1968, and an M.S. in public health from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1974. 

Professor Theron Odlaug was an integral, inspirational and indefatigable part of UMD. He was an inspirational teacher, a caring person, and deserving of all this attention.