By Brecken Branstrator
Glenn Nord, the GIA’s third president, is credited with broadening the appeal of GIA education on a global basis. He died June 9 at the age of 90.
Carlsbad, Calif.—Glenn Nord, the third president of the Gemological Institute of America, died June 9. He was 90 years old.

Through his five-plus decades with the GIA, Nord was a student, instructor, president and member of its board of governors.

He received his Graduate Gemologist diploma in 1959 and was hired by the institute’s second president, Richard T. Liddicoat, in 1961.

He started as one of GIA’s traveling instructors, providing gemological training for students—and becoming a well-known and very popular teacher, according to GIA’s fourth president and friend Bill Boyajian—while also promoting the institute to local jewelers.

Glenn was the No. 2 person for the GIA on the West Coast behind Liddicoat during the institute’s formative years from the 1960s through 1974, Boyajian said, adding that he was the “perfect complement to the soft-spoken Liddicoat, himself a prince of a man.”

Nord is credited with pioneering the GIA’s corporate training programs. In 1970, he took GIA instruction to Israel and Japan, beginning a global outreach that now spans 14 cities in 12 countries.

Boyajian said he “probably did more to broaden the appeal of GIA education than anyone else.”

Nord left the GIA in 1974 to join Joseph Goldfinger, one of the biggest diamond dealers in the world. 

The board of governors then asked him to return as president in 1983, as then-president Liddicoat was transitioning out due to health issues.

Nord retired from the GIA in 1986, after which time Boyajian became president—handpicked by Nord and Liddicoat themselves—but remained on the GIA board of governors until his death, serving the last few years as governor emeritus.

Boyajian said: “Glenn was a very strong and commanding person. Tall and good-looking, he commanded attention and was viewed as tough businessman. But he was also sensitive and thoughtful in how he dealt with people and could become quite emotional when confronted with the tough decisions he often had to make.”

20190612 Glenn and GIAGlenn Nord is pictured here, standing sixth from the left, along with the GIA staff at the American Gem Society’s Conclave event in Chicago in 1968.

“Glenn was a pioneer, maybe even more like a captain, at GIA and even in the industry. His greatness is legendary, and his memory lives on.”

The GIA honored Nord with its highest honor, the Richard T. Liddicoat Award, in 2001.

It credits him, along with other early leaders like Liddicoat, G. Robert Crowningshield, Bert Krashes and Eunice Miles, with laying the “foundation upon which GIA is built,” guiding it through difficult times and offering numerous contributions.

“Glenn Nord was a committed advocate for GIA’s mission, and for our students and the GIA staff, particularly those in our gemological laboratories,” GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques said. “His business acumen and wisdom, shared over decades with GIA management and the board of governors, provided strategic guidance that built GIA’s success.”

He is survived by his wife, Hannah, their three children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Services will be held on June 22 in Pasadena, California.

The GIA said it will soon establish a scholarship in his name.

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