July 29, 2010
David Preus, Ph.D., a 1943 graduate of Luther College, was one of five distinguished alumni of Lutheran Colleges who were recognized with the Going Viking Award on June 23 by Minneapolis-based Norway House as part of its annual Midtsommer Celebration.
In addition to Preus, Going Viking Award recipients included Peter Agre, Augsburg College; Joyce Nelson, Augustana College; Greg Mortenson, Concordia College; and Gary Gandrud, St. Olaf College.
Luther President Richard and Mrs. Judy Torgerson attended the Midtsommer Celebration honor ceremony held at the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis. President Torgerson read the citation honoring Preus.
Preus, a national leader in issues related to church and society, was one of the organizing members of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and former presiding bishop of the American Lutheran Church.
Agre shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2003 for his discovery of aquaporins—channels that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes, a process essential to all living organisms.
Nelson is a nationally recognized leader in nursing education and has contributed significantly in the study of geriatric and psychiatric nursing through her research, publishing, and innovative teaching.
Mortenson’s 2006 novel "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time" became an international best-seller and called attention to his work as executive director of the Central Asia Institute.
Gandrud, a prominent Minneapolis attorney, has chaired the boards of a number of Norwegian American organizations and in January 2010 was appointed Honorary Consul General for Norway in Minneapolis.
"Each year, we recognize the contributions of Norwegian Americans to our region and its quality of life," said Linda Mona, president of Norway House. "We started with entrepreneurs and moved to elected officials a year ago. This time we recognize our Lutheran-founded Colleges and some of their outstanding graduates."
Norway House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a link for present and future generations of the Norwegian-American community in the upper Midwest with the heritage, culture, and future of Norway.
There are more than five million Norwegian-Americans in the United States, most of them in the Upper Midwest. With the exception of Ireland, no other country has contributed a larger percentage of its population to the United States than Norway.
"The Midtsommer Celebration is one of a number of Norway House events to raise awareness of the contribution of Norwegian-Americans and to raise funds to ultimately provide a physical presence for the construction of a Norway House in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area," Mona said.