November 16, 2015

2015 GAA – Roland Thorstensson


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I am delighted to nominate Dr. Roland Thorstensson for the SCA Great Achievement Award. Thorstensson had a distinguished career at Gustavus Adolphus College (1971-2010) and has many accomplishments that qualify him to receive this honor.

Thorstensson helped develop our unique and nationally respected Scandinavian Studies Department. He helped to create Gustavus’s “Out of Scandinavia” residency program, which brings Nordic writers and artists to campus. He promoted the study of the Sami, the indigenous people of Sweden and Scandinavia. He and his wife, Edi, created Sjölunden, the first Swedish language village under the Concordia College Language Villages system in 1975 and were its first deans from 1975 to 1977.

Later in his career, he designed a new Semester in Sweden program at Gustavus and served as its first faculty director. This continues to be a highly successful study away program among our students.

In 2010, Thorstensson was awarded the H.M. (His Majesty) The King’s Medal by the King and Queen of Sweden. H.M. The King’s Medal was created in 1814 and is presented to Swedish and foreign citizens for special merits as well as to officials of the Royal Court for long and faithful service. Thorstensson was held up for his “significant contributions to education in the Swedish language in the United States.”

I believe that Dr. Roland Thorstensson embodies the spirit of this award and that he would be honored and humbled to receive it.

Roland Thorstensson was nominated by Rebecca Bergman,, President of Gustavus Adolphus College on behalf of Gustavus Adolphus College, an SCA Affiliate Member.