Alumni Memories: Ted Stromberg, ’56 BSB

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When Ted Stromberg came to the University in 1954, he wanted to get a degree as fast as possible. He took course overloads, went to school in the summer, and graduated in just over two years. Why the rush? “I was already married and had a little boy,” recalls Stromberg, 78.

Like the veterans of World War II who crowded the business school in the late 1940s, military service interrupted Stromberg’s education. After high school, he attended Augsburg College for a year before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and heading off to Korea. When his service ended in 1954, Stromberg immediately enrolled at the U, even though classes had started a week earlier. “I knew I needed a college education,” he recalls. “I wanted the best and I wanted to go back to Minnesota. Home was still home, and the U was—and still is—the best university in Minnesota.”

In addition to studies and his family, Stromberg kept busy working at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis for 27 hours a week. “I never went to a football game the whole time I was at the U,” he says. “Now I go to all the games.”

Stromberg found the courses challenging, particularly one called Math of Investments. But he also remembers caring and committed professors who understood the difficulties students faced. Long-time Accounting Professor Carl Nelson, Stromberg recalls, was “one of the finest accounting teachers ever.”

When he finished school in December 1956, Stromberg had a slew of job offers. The economy was hot, and growing companies such as Honeywell and 3M needed workers with strong financial skills. Stromberg took an offer from 3M, where he spent the next 35 years. He helped install one of the company’s first business computers. (It had a whopping 100K of memory, he recalls with a laugh.) Retired since 1991, Stromberg loves to travel and is grateful for his education. “I never would have gotten where I got without that college degree,” he says.