Grace Torguson: Honoring Dru’s legacy

Document Type


Publication Date



Grace Torguson: Honoring Dru’s legacy

Grace Torguson has always known that she wanted to choose a career path in which she could help people. So, she decided to pursue an education in the medical field.

“It’s really rewarding when your patients thank you. When they give you a hug at the end of the day, you know you’re doing something good,” said the College of Nursing senior.

That desire to help others went a long way when Torguson was granted the 2011 Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established through the UND Foundation in 2005 in memory of UND student Dru Sjodin.

On Nov. 22, 2003, Sjodin was abducted from Grand Forks. Five months later, volunteers and law enforcement brought her home to her family and Sjodin was laid to rest in Minnesota. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in visual art while active in The Clothesline Project and Gamma Phi Beta sorority. The Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship was established in loving memory of Sjodin’s vibrant spirit with the intention of turning grief into triumph.

“It’s incredibly honoring to be able to carry on Dru’s memory and to be able to be the voice for Dru now. She was an incredible, incredible person, and she did so many great things and had such an impact on people,” Torguson said.

Since receiving the scholarship, Torguson has put her extra efforts into creating a class for nursing students to learn how to care for victims of violence, with hopes that the class will become an annual event. Torguson worked extensively with the Community Violence Intervention Center and UND College of Nursing instructor Maridee Shogren. On Feb. 24, her hard work paid off when Kari Kerr, CVIC’s Prevention and Education Coordinator, taught the first class to 25 nursing students.

“It was eye-opening for all who attended,” Shogren said. “Students seem especially sheltered to me at times and this experience brought the topic of domestic violence forward and made them understand that as nurses we need to be aware of our community needs and think outside the box for interventions and education opportunities.”

The first class was optional, but counted toward a requirement in the Expectant Family Program. Shogren says she wants to continue the class, and shares Torguson’s hope of eventually offering it to all nursing students.

“I want my classmates to know what to say to those women because not only is it going to help them be a better nurse, but it’s going to have an impact on those women’s lives,” Torguson said. “It was the only way I knew how to honor Dru’s memory.”

The Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship provides substantial funding toward tuition and fees for a full academic year for a highly motivated, academically successful student leader entering his or her sophomore, junior, or senior year at UND.

“Scholarships are so important,” said Torguson, 21, who plans to attend medical school after graduating next December. “We’re living in a time when school is extremely expensive, and people aren’t even coming to college just because they think they can’t afford it.”

Torguson, who was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, encourages “everyone” to apply for the scholarship, which she described as “prestigious.”

“People think this is just for girls to apply for, but that’s not the case. You don’t have to be part of the Greek community. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a junior. Take the opportunity to apply. This is not something that is limited to a small group of people. There are a lot of people out there who I think would be great candidates if they just apply,” she said.

Past winners of the Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship are Leah Hoffbeck, Alyson Wilhelmi, Megan Towner, Becca (Bahnmiller) Grandstrand, Tori Mauch, and Seinquis Slater.

For more information on the Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship contact Spring Bakke or call 701.777.5608. Application deadline is March 19.

This document is currently not available here.