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The University of Mary plans to release a book this week on the self-made North Dakota millionaire, Gary Tharaldson.

Tharaldson grew up in the small town of Dazey. He previously worked as a teacher and insurance salesman. At age 26, he started an insurance company in Valley City. Tharaldson established success by building and managing hotels across the United States. He has constructed more than 425 hotels — his 500th one will be built in 2020.

The university, which has named its business school after Tharaldson, commissioned a book to be written about him and, as referenced in the title, his "secrets to success."

Tharaldson will be at the University of Mary this week to speak with business students and promote the new book, "Open Secrets of Success: The Gary Tharaldson Story," written by Patrick J. McCloskey, the university's director of research and publications. The book launch will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the school.

The book includes a foreword from Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who mentions he has visited a "few times" with another hospitality industry leader, President Donald Trump, about Tharaldson and their joint project in Las Vegas.

"Every one of our encounters brings the same humble Gary Tharaldson, who, as a young insurance salesman, put the needs of his clients ahead of the policies he was selling," Cramer wrote. "This is one of the many 'open secrets' that brought him and his business great success and admiration from all who have been privileged to know him."

The book talks about Tharaldson's upbringing and his early successes and business failures. In 1998, he was on the list of Forbes 400 richest Americans. He has consistently been ranked North Dakota's wealthiest man by Forbes, currently worth $900 million, according to the magazine, yet many people in the book call Theraldson "down-to-earth" and genuine.

"Not only do I create jobs, but my whole philosophy is: How do I make it better for people that work for me? How do I make them wealthy?" Tharaldson said in a news release from the school.

The book, published by the University of Mary Press, costs $12.99. For more information on the book launch, visit the university's Facebook event page,

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or


Education and Health Reporter