Syttende Mai Celebrations Set for May 17

In honor of its Sesquicentennial and in recognition of its Norwegian heritage, Augustana College today announced plans for its Syttende Mai celebrations on Tuesday, May 17. Syttende Mai translates to Norwegian Constitution Day.

Details of the on-campus celebration include:

10 a.m.: Norwegian and English worship, led by the Rev. Jorunn Raddum, Chapel of Reconciliation.

10:30 a.m.: Panel discussion on “Augustana and Norway: The Next 150 Years.” The discussion will be held in the Chapel and will feature:

  • Dr. Tore Detlie, ’78, a radiologist and a member of Norway America Foundation board. He was born in Oppdal, Norway, and later moved to Oslo, where he attended Kampen folkeskole and Vahl Gymnas. He previously served as medical director of radiology at Minneapolis-based Fairview Lakes Medical Center before merging his practice with a larger radiology group serving all of the Fairview Hospital System. He spent 10 years working as a general radiologist with a sub-specialty in breast imaging before joining a national radiology group with more than 350 radiologists covering multiple states.
  • Rev. Jorunn Raddum, ’91, pastor at Lesja Church, Gudbrandsdalen, Norway. After two years of Master’s degree studies in church music at Luther Seminary, she returned to Norway to pursue her degree in theology at the University of Oslo. She is currently involved in Master’s degree studies in practical theology, with a special emphasis on liturgy. Together with her family, she is planning to stay in the Sioux Falls area for a year in 2012-2013.
  • Richard Engh, ’81, chemistry professor at University of Tromsø. After a year of Fulbright studies in Mainz, (West) Germany, Engh completed Master’s and Ph.D. studies in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. In 1987, his professional and personal interests led him to postdoctoral research studies with Chemistry Nobel Laureate Robert Huber at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Martinsried, Germany), where he directed collaborative research in drug discovery with pharmaceutical companies.

    In 2006, he accepted a professor of chemistry position at the University of Tromsø, the world's northernmost university, and home to the Norwegian Centre for Structural Biology. He continues to pursue research relevant to structure-based anticancer drug discovery, connected to Norway's research focus on marine bioprospecting, and teaches physical chemistry, crystallography, and topics in drug discovery and design

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Outdoor celebration.With the famed Ole the Viking statue overlooking the festivities, Norwegian children’s games and free ice cream and waffles will be featured at the center of campus.

5 p.m.: Dinner Reception in the Commons Dining Hall featuring Norwegian meatballs, boiled potatoes and gravy, broccoli, Norwegian vegetable soup, salmon wraps and Norwegian desserts. Cost is $10.25 or $8 for those with an Augustana ID. In addition to the dinner, the 3-in-1 room will feature displays about Norwegian Constitution Day.

Nordland Fest
A celebration of Syttende Mai will also be held at First Lutheran Church, 327 S. Dakota Ave., on Tuesday, May 17. The event is hosted by the Norseman’s Federation, Sons of Norway, Norse Glee Club, Minnehaha Mandskor and Nordland Fest.

Details of Nordland Fest include:

  • 4:30 p.m.: Social hour in the atrium featuring punch and exhibits of traditional Norwegian arts and crafts.
  • 6 p.m.: Scandinavian buffet dinner in the Reformation Hall featuring lefse, herring, rommegrot, sweet soup and Scandinavian cookies. The Minnehaha Mandskor, one of the oldest Norwegian male choruses in the U.S., will sing.
  • 7 p.m.:The Golden Age of Norwegian Art Songs,” a program presented by Russell Sveningson, professor of music at Augustana.

Reservations are required for Nordland Fest. Tickets can be reserved and purchased by calling 605.338.5160. Cost is $15 for adults and $8 for children (kids 5 years old and under are free).

About May 17 – Syttende Mai
The Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as Syttende Mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen (The Constitution Day). The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent nation. The holiday is celebrated with parades (especially involving children), family gatherings, and a variety of other traditions including meals and the famous russ (high school students celebrating graduation).

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations