Luther College assistant professor of Scandinavian studies Maren Johnson has been named the director of Luther's new Richard L. and Judith A. Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies
Johnson joined the Nordic studies department in 2014 as a specialist in contemporary Norwegian literature and Henrik Ibsen. Her Luther coursework includes Norwegian language and Nordic literature and culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Norwegian language and literature from Pacific Lutheran University and master's and doctoral degrees in Scandinavian language and literature from the University of Washington.
"Maren's passion for and dedication to her work make her a fantastic choice for the first director of the Center for Nordic Studies. I know the students are excited to explore this expanded educational area with her," said Luther vice president for academic affairs and dean Kevin Kraus,
The Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies was established in recognition of the Luther College sesquicentennial and more than 150 years of the college's ties to Norway, and with the generous support of a lead gift from O. Jay and Patricia A. Tomson, long-time friends of the college. The Tomsons are the parents of Marti (Tomson) Rodamaker, Luther class of 1984 and Regent Emerita.
The Center provides a programmatic vision to build on the strengths and resources already available on campus in order to forge new ties with Scandinavia, attracting students who want to connect their interest in Nordic studies with a range of disciplines, including environmental science and sustainability, immigration and multiculturalism, peace studies, health care, banking, political science, economics and social work.
The director of the Center for Nordic Studies, appointed from the Luther faculty for a five-year term, will guide both on-campus and external initiatives in keeping with its purpose.