How Dr. Borlaug Came to the U
I thank a friend for pointing me to the link for this wonderful story.
In February 1933, I entered a Midwest AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] tournament in Cresco. Most of the other entrants were university wrestlers. I hadn't wrestled for a year but got into the finals and wrestled a person from Iowa State Teachers College. He beat me in overtime. As I was leaving, the Iowa coach said, "You should come to Iowa State Teachers College." There were no athletics scholarships at that time, but the coach said he would get me a job.
Shortly before I was to leave for Iowa, George Champlin (B.A. '34), a football player for the University of Minnesota who lived in Cresco, drove up. He said, "My dad said you should be at the University of Minnesota. I'm going to early football practice tomorrow. Come and ride along. You can hitchhike back if you don't like it there." I went and never came back.
I had a good high school academic record, but when I came to Minnesota they said, "You're short a year of credits." At that time Minnesota didn't count ninth grade as high school, so they said I had to take a special exam. I took it and flunked it and figured, hell, I'm a complete washout.
But George took me to see Fred Hovde (B.S. '29), dean of the General College, which was just starting. George told him what had happened and Hovde said I should start in General College. I spent fall and winter quarters there and had very good grades, so Hovde said I could transfer to any of the University's colleges. I went to the forestry college.
My friend comments: "It's a great story. The U used to be proud of telling it. Seemed like Borlaug was happy to tell it."