Remembering Roger Melvold

Roger Melvold

Roger Melvold, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Microbiology & Immunology, died May 6, 2022.

He was born March 21, 1946, in Wadena, Minn., to Sam Reder Melvold and Palma (Ronning) Melvold.

He grew up in Henning, Minn., and graduated from Henning High School in 1964.

Roger enrolled at Moorhead State University in 1964, graduating with a degree in Biology in 1968.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas (Lawrence) in 1972 working as a teaching fellow, assistant instructor, and researcher in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology.

Roger worked as a research associate in radiation biology (genetics) at Harvard from 1972-79 in the Dept. of Radiation Therapy becoming a principal research associate in radiation therapy (genetics) 1976-79.

Roger joined the faculty at Northwestern University Medical school from 1979-1997.

Roger worked as assistant professor in the Depts. of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, associate professor from 1983-92, acting chairman in 1991 and associate chairman from 1992-97.

Roger moved “back home” to the University of North Dakota in 1997.

He served as department chair and professor of Microbiology-Immunology at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences until his retirement in 2008.

Dr. Melvold is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of mice genetics and immunology.

As a scientist and administrator he strengthened the resources, faculty, and the scholarly reputation of the department at UND.

Roger’s research resulted in more than 135 full length publications and numerous abstracts and reviews. Roger collaborated on two medical textbook in the area of Immunology published in 2005 and 2007.

Dr. Roger Melvold was recognized by a Distinguished Alumni Award at MSUM in 1985, and honored in 2008 as a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at UND.

Roger Melvold was unique as a professor linking history as well as art history in his curriculum.

His philosophy was to offer a well-rounded education for his students.

He was an historian, fascinated by the world around him and always eager to share his vast knowledge with students and others.

It was no surprise that he enrolled as an undergraduate at UND after retirement to pursue a degree in history, at the same time teaching at the medical school, and the college of art and sciences as professor emeritus.

Roger traveled all over the U.S., as well as Europe and Asia and was truly a Renaissance man; the consummate cook, great story teller, and educator.

Most who knew Roger would attest to this. A man of great intelligence who at the same time would indulge you with sophisticated and frivolous humor. Roger was a sports fan. He played sports in his youth. He was an ardent fan of the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota. Twins, and the University of Kansas basketball team. He always anticipated March madness.

Roger loved animals. All of them. He had many pets over the years and contributed to the Humane Society and other pet non-profit organizations. Roger had an infectious laugh and a sincere way about him.

Roger will be missed in unfathomable ways by all who were fortunate to have known his gracious soul.

Survived by his nephews J. Erin Rourke and J. Bracken Rourke; brother-in-law, Vern (Cid) Rourke, Mission, KS.

Roger is preceded in death by his parents Sam and Palma Melvold, brother Charles Wesley Melvold, sister Shirley Joan (Melvold) Rourke, brother in law Orland J. Rourke. And too many pets to mention.

Per Roger’s wish no formal visitation or service will be held.

Memorials suggested to the Roger Melvold Biosciences Fund, MSUM Foundation, Owens Hall. 203, 1107 7th Ave. S., Moorhead MN 56563.

A special thanks to the doctors, nurses, and staff at Altru Hospital, and Valley Senior Living.

As a final heartfelt gesture to this beautiful man:

Well done Roger….Very well done.