Norma Bonderson GaffronNorma Bondeson Gaffron of New Brighton, Minn., will be recognized by Winona State University with the Distinguished Alumni Award Friday, Oct. 24, as a part of the university’s Homecoming celebration.

Gaffron graduated with honors from Winona State Teachers School (now WSU) in 1951. After graduation, Gaffron went on to teach elementary school from 1954-1960 in Dodge Center, Duluth and Mounds View, Minn. In 1976 Gaffron received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Minnesota and followed up with a number of special courses that focused on writing, including creative writing, writing for children and writing for publication.

Gaffron has been a successful freelance writer since 1977, writing for newspapers and magazines including The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Field and Stream, SAIL, Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest. She published five nonfiction books for middle grade readers that were reviewed by Book List and School Library Journal.

Gaffron believes her greatest contribution has been her work in developing the nationally respected Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Minnesota and spearheading the regional conference in Minneapolis. She was awarded the Anna Cross Giblin Nonfiction Research grant by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in 1992.

“I think I have brought honor to myself and my alma mater by displaying a lifetime of living a good life, teaching elementary school, always giving credit to WSTC as the college that taught me how to teach,” Gaffron said.

Gaffron raised three children, Michael, Timothy and Patty, with her husband Bernard Gaffron, whom she married in 1953.