Luther College to award honorary degrees

John A. Nunes and Øyvind T. Gulliksen to receive honorary degrees at Luther's Commencement
Luther College will award honorary degrees to John A. Nunes, former president and chief executive officer of Lutheran World Relief, and Øyvind T. Gulliksen, professor emeritus of American literature and culture at the University College of Southeast Norway, at Luther's Commencement ceremony Sunday, May 21, in Carlson Stadium on the Luther campus.

John A. Nunes is the president of Concordia College-New York in Bronxville, New York, a position he has held since July 2016. Prior to his election as Concordia's ninth president, Nunes served as the Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. The Jochum Chair supports the study of Christian values in public and professional life.

An ordained Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod minister, Nunes was president and chief executive officer of Lutheran World Relief from 2007-13. Lutheran World Relief is an international non-profit organization working to end poverty, injustice and human suffering worldwide.

Prior to joining Lutheran World Relief, Nunes taught theology at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois, and served as a community organizer in Detroit and an urban parish pastor in Dallas. He is the author of "Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching," and, with his wife Monique, the children's book "Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria." His most recent book, co-authored with Alberto L. Garcia, is "Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins," published in April 2017.

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and raised in Ontario, Canada, Nunes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College (now Concordia University) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, and Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Nunes will deliver the Commencement address at Luther's 2017 graduation ceremony.

Øyvind T. Gulliksen is professor emeritus of American literature and culture at the University College of Southeast Norway in Bø, Telemark, Norway. During his sabbaticals, he served as visiting professor of Scandinavian studies at Luther College. He first taught Norwegian literature at Luther in 1983-84, during a Fulbright year, and returned to teach Paideia and Scandinavian studies from 2001-03 and 2007-08. Since 2015, he has served as an honorary research scholar in Luther's Nordic Studies program.

Born in Ulefoss in Telemark, Gulliksen first came to Luther College in 1976, when he was a graduate student in American Studies and a Fulbright fellow at the University of Minnesota. Head librarian Oivind Hovde, Luther class of 1932, showed him around campus, and a seed was planted for a return visit and a career dedicated to exploring the breadth and depth of Norwegian-American language, literature, theology and art.

The author and editor of dozens of books and articles, Gulliksen's work has greatly enriched the understanding of the life and cultural achievements of the people who shaped Luther College and the broader Norwegian-American community. His most recent work – an annotated edition of O.E. Rolvaag's original Norwegian two-volume version of "Giants in the Earth," with new introductions – was issued as an internet version by the National Library in Norway in 2016. He is nearing completion of the monumental task of transcribing the recently discovered letters of Elisabeth Koren, with the goal of being published both in English and Norwegian.

 Gulliksen co-founded the Norwegian Forum on Literature and Religion in 1992. He served on the International Ibsen Committee in Norway and was instrumental in awarding the committee's Ibsen Stipend to the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro, Minnesota. He was honored with the Spirit of Luther Award in 2008.

Gulliksen holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Oslo and a doctorate in English from the University of Bergen in Norway.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website:

John A. Nunes
Øyvind T. Gulliksen