Stephen Edward Nord, '52, who touched the lives of thousands of University of Washington students in his long career in the Department of Student Affairs, died Nov. 30, 1999. He was 69.
Stephen Nord. Photo courtesy Paul Zuchowski
A longtime adviser to the student government and manager of the student union, Nord, who retired from the UW in 1992 as associate vice president for student affairs, had a reputation as a thoughtful, calm, sensitive man who loved dealing with students.
“Steve never allowed [students'] passion to inhibit his ability to hear what they were saying,” recalls Tom Taggart, assistant director of the Office of Educational Assessment. “He would listen to the most incoherent rantings and distill the intent. He could then reflect that intent in a reasoned way that would often convert the antagonist into a collaborator.”
Adds Bill Baker, associate vice president for minority affairs: “Steve was wonderfully non-judgmental and fair-minded, and never tried to impose his own values and biases on students.”
A 1952 graduate of the UW with a bachelor's degree in economics, Nord returned to his alma mater in 1961 as a principal personnel representative for the Division of Health Sciences. In 1966, he joined the unpredictable but never dull world of student affairs when he was appointed manager of the Student Union Building (now the HUB). A year later, he was named acting manager of the ASUW and given the job permanently in 1968.
He later was assistant vice president for student affairs before being promoted to associate vice president. Though his office moved from the HUB to Schmitz Hall, he never lost his love for the HUB or working with students. “That led to a very long career in helping to shape the lives of the thousands of students who came into contact with Steve and his very special style of giving advice without giving advice,” says Jeanne L. Holm, assistant vice president for student affairs.
Though he retired in 1992, he returned to manage the HUB and the Office of Student Activities during the long illness and subsequent 1995 death of Kathy Niccolls, the director of student activities and union facilities. “He will be remembered as a caring, slightly irreverent, and compassionate individual who managed to see the good in everyone,” Holm says.
Nord is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two sons, Jeffrey and Christopher. Remembrances may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association or to the General Scholarship Fund at the University of Washington.Jon Marmor