Halvard Roalkvam was born in Norway on June 5, 1845, and died April 25, 1926.
Roalkvam received his A.B. degree from Luther College in 1874, and went on to receive his Candidate of Theology degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1877. He also spent a year from 1877-1878 as a student at the University of Christiania.
He was appointed as a temporary instructor at Luther College in 1878, becoming a full professor three years later. While Roalkvam spent the most years teaching catechetics and didactics, Norwegian, and religion, he also taught vocal music, geography, and history on an occasional basis. He was elected the first secretary of the Luther College Alumni Association in 1880, and received his A.M. degree from the college in 1883. He also served as College Librarian from 1882-1886. On January 26, 1881, he participated in a censorship committee inspecting Mimer Library, the collection of a student reading society attempting to expand the college’s collections along wider cultural lines and beyond basic reference works.
Roalkvam left Decorah in 1886 to enter a life of ministry. He had been involved in church matters before, having been the treasurer for the Iowa District of the Norwegian Synod from 1884-1885. Now he would turn to the church full time, quickly joining the Anti-Missourian Brotherhood, an organized outcry against the influence of the Missouri Synod Church on the Norwegian Synod. For the next thirty years, he would serve as a pastor in several midwestern communities, including Crookstone, Minnesota(1886-1889); Fisher, Minnesota (1889-1892); Coon Valley, Wisconsin (1893-1910); and North Prairie, Minnesota (1910-1916). While he was a member of many boards and committees in the Norwegian Synod, he found time to continue to contribute to the academic world, serving as the Principal at Grand Forks College from 1891-1893.
During his lifetime, Roalkvam was not only a teacher and pastor, but also an author. In 1881, he authored Kateketik, a catechetics class syllabus he transformed into a textbook. Later editions were published in 1898 and 1903. Also during his years at Luther College, he was co-editor of Luthersk Skolblad from 1880-1881. In 1882, he wrote ABC Laesebog for Børn published by the Norwegian Publishing House in Decorah. Later as a pastor, he authored Homiletik in 1905, and Kiliasmen in 1920.
Roalkvam retired from preaching in 1916, and was pastor emeritus for Coon Valley, Wisconsin, until his death on April 25th, 1926.
Ref: Nelson, David T. Luther College, 1861-1961. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961; Norlie, O.M. et al. Luther College Through Sixty Years, 1861-1921. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1922; Luther College Archives; Malmin, Rasmus et al. Who’s Who Among Pastors in all the Norwegian Lutheran Synods of America, 1843-1927. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1928.