About Dr. Sven Froiland (1922-1998)

Dr. Sven Froiland

Born in Astoria, S.D., in 1922, Froiland attended Clear Lake High School and graduated from South Dakota State University in 1942. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado. Additional study included work at the University of Minnesota; a visiting scholar appointment at the University of Arizona; National Science Foundation Institutes at the Universities of Michigan, Indiana and North Carolina.

Froiland entered the U.S. Army immediately upon graduating from SDSU in 1942. He served four years and was wounded in the second wave of the Normandy invasion in 1944 and was awarded a Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged from the Army at the rank of captain in 1946.

Froiland began his teaching career at Augustana in 1946 as a biology instructor. He moved through the faculty ranks to full professor in 1958 and served as chairman of the Biology Department for 17 years until 1970 and the Division of Natural Sciences for 20 years until 1976. He was also heavily involved in the Center for Western Studies, serving as its Executive Director.

During his academic career, Froiland was active in other positions, including the Research Association with the USDA Forest Service and served as director of the Black Hills Natural Sciences Field Station. He was recognized as South Dakota Conservation Educator of the Year in 1976, named to American Men of Science, Outstanding Educators of America, Who’s Who in American Education, Faculty-Administrator of the Year in 1976 and received the 125th Anniversary Award from Augustana College in 1986.

He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1987 as an "Outstanding Educator."

Veteran and retired professors and administrators at Augustana always identify Froiland as the driving force behind biological research at the institution and the construction of Gilbert Science Center. At the critical juncture when the decision to build a new science building was reached, President Lawrence Stavig, content that the funding for a new facility was secured and plans were approved, retired. His successor, Dr. Charles Balcer, also felt that being new precluded him from making decisions on the new building and assigned the final planning and supervision of the construction to Dr. Froiland. 

Dr. Froiland has been identified as one of the true giants who served Augustana with distinction. He was a demanding professor who influenced the lives of thousands of future physicians, nurses, researchers, educators and business leaders. Athletic coaches sought him out to meet with talented student-athletes who desired to pursue a career in medicine. He was a persuasive recruiter.

His love for Marion and their children, hunting, fishing, the Black Hills, history and Augustana was core to his being. His legacy lives on in the lives of those he taught; those with whom he served; and has been a major influence in those who teach and learn at Augustana today. 

Learn more about the Froiland Science Complex.