Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
Through the lenses of politics and public service, academia and journalism, Lloyd Omdahl has spent his life focused on his native state of North Dakota. Born and raised in Conway, Norwegian American Omdahl graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1953 with majors in political science and journalism. He joined state government the next year as Assistant Director of Public Safely.
In 1957, Omdahl started an advertising and public relations agency and guided the campaigns of Sen. Quentin Burdick and Gov. William Guy. He joined the staff of the Governor as administrative assistant in 1961, a position he held until 1963 when he was appointed Tax Commissioner. He was elected to the office the next year. In 1966, he returned to the governor’s staff as Director of Administration.
In 1967 Omdahl joined UND’s political science department, specializing in state and local government, federalism and political parties. He served as director of the UND Bureau for Governmental Affairs for most of the next 25 years. In 1980, Omdahl received the Liberty Bell Award from the ND Bar Association for his contributions to public understanding of the law. Omdahl was appointed Lieutenant Governor by Gov. George Sinner in 1987 to fill out a vacancy of that office. When that term ended he rejoined the UND faculty and served as Interim Director of the School of Communications. He retired in 1995, but returned to UND for special lectures for another decade.
Omdahl now shares his well earned perspective on North Dakota issues with thousands of readers through a syndicated column originating in the Grand Forks Herald.