Several months ago the NDSU University Archives was contacted by the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners advertisement agency regarding a photograph they had located on the NDSU Archives Flicker site.
This photograph features an NDSU student participating in the 1956 homecoming torch run between Bismarck and Fargo. The event took place on October 26, 1956, starting with Governor Norman Brunsdale lighting the torch at the State Capital Building. Student runners then carried the torch 198 miles across the state to Fargo where it was used to kick off the NDSU Homecoming events.
1956 NDSU Homecoming torch runner
The Goodby, Silverstein & Partners advertisement agency was working with Chevrolet to produce a commercial for the automobile company’s centennial. The University Archives was able to provide a copy of the image for use in the commercial, but there was one problem; In order for the company to use the image, they needed to clear permission with the student featured in the photograph. Unfortunately there was no identification with the image, and very few clues. This touched off a tedious and collaborative effort between the University Archives, the NDSU Alumni Association and the Forum. These efforts paid off and the runner was identified as Robert K. Brown, Class of 1957. A friend of Mr. Brown’s had read an article by Bob Lind in the Forum asking if anyone knew the identity of the runner. She in turn sent a copy of the article to Mr. Brown and he was able to confirm that it was indeed him in the photograph.
The commercial entitled “Then & Now | 100 Years of Chevrolet | Chevy Centennial” has been released and can be viewed on YouTube. The photograph appears about 3 seconds between :33 and :36 in the commercial.