Lutherans in Minnesota

Norwegian royalty make Lutheran college campus pilgrimage

Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow is flanked by Her Majesty Queen Sonja and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway as they walk through the campus on the way to dedicate a peace pole, an international symbol of peace on earth. Photo Credit: Stephen Geffre

Augsburg College on October 16 hosted a visit by Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway when Their Majesties attended a worship service of Norwegian students and community members, a peace pole dedication, and a reception with Norwegian students from Augsburg and throughout the region.

“We are deeply honored to have Their Majesties visit Augsburg College, given our Norwegian heritage and our deep commitment to peacemaking and global citizenship,” said Paul C. Pribbenow, college president.

Nearly 300 Norwegian students from Augsburg, sister colleges, and state universities attended the invitation-only student worship service with Their Majesties. The Rev. Anne Loyning, chaplain for Norwegian students in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and pastor of Norwegian Seamen’s Church presided. Bishops from the ELCA also were in attendance.

Immediately following the worship service, President Pribbenow presented a newly commissioned and installed peace pole, dedicated to Their Majesties as a gift. The pole, an international symbol of peace on earth, includes messages of peace in 11 languages representing those of the communities in Augsburg’s Cedar-Riverside community and international locations.

“The peace pole was commissioned in recognition of Augsburg’s work with the Norwegian Nobel Institute to support peacemaking through the annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum, the college’s Norwegian heritage, and its deep relationship with the country and people of Norway,” Pribbenow said. “The peace pole will become a gathering site for regular ceremonies of peace each academic year.”

After presentation of the peace pole, Their Majesties and students gathered for an invitation-only reception.

Prior to this trip by Their Majesties, Norway’s King Olav (King Harald’s father) visited the college during Thanksgiving 1988. During that visit, His Majesty met with former college President Charles Anderson, Gracia Christensen, Bishop David Olson, and former U.S. Rep. Martin Olav Sabo and Sylvia Sabo. Sabo is a 1959 graduate of Augsburg, and the leader of the college’s Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning. Prior to His Majesty becoming King, Crown Prince Harald visited Augsburg during 1965 to reaffirm the relationship between Norway and the College.

Prior to visiting Augsburg, Their Majesties visited Luther College, St. Olaf College, and the Mayo Clinic. After visiting Augsburg, Their Majesties met with Gov. Mark Dayton and guests for dinner. Their Majesties also visited Duluth before departing Minnesota to visit New York for several days.

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