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    Feb 24, 2012

American Swedish Institute and Gustavus Adolphus College Announce Royal Visit

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit the American Swedish Institute (ASI) and Gustavus Adolphus College in October 2012.

The royal visit is in honor of the dedication of the American Swedish Institute’s new Nelson Cultural Center and other recent campus enhancements, and in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Gustavus Adolphus College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.

“The American Swedish Institute and Gustavus Adolphus College are important links between Sweden and the United States,” remarked Ambassador of Sweden to the United States, H.E. Jonas Hafström. “Gustavus’ annual Nobel Conference, for example, was the first ongoing conference in the United States to have the official authorization of The Nobel Foundation and annually brings together over 5,000 participants with the world’s foremost scholars and researchers. The American Swedish Institute offers our community an exemplary calendar of arts and culture programming that celebrates heritage and connects to contemporary Nordic culture.”

The King and Queen will start their two-day visit at Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday, Oct. 5, where they will take part in a chapel service and dedication ceremonies for the new Sesquicentennial Plaza and sculpture. 

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Their Majesties will visit the American Swedish Institute to formally dedicate the Carl and Leslie Nelson Cultural Center, as well as other extensive renovations to the historic Turnblad Mansion and the campus grounds. The program will also include a seminar and a cultural arts festival. 

A limited number of tickets will be made available for the chapel service at Gustavus Adolphus College, and for the dedication ceremony at the American Swedish Institute. Details regarding tickets to these and other related events associated with the royal visit will be announced in May by the two institutions.   

With the opening of the Nelson Cultural Center on June 30, 2012, Gustavus Adolphus College will establish an urban presence on the ASI campus for purposes of alumni relations, student recruitment, and educational programming. Gustavus and ASI have been longtime partners in many activities to benefit the community; a number of collaborative educational and cultural programs are currently under development. 

“The American Swedish Institute and Gustavus Adolphus College are pleased to welcome Their Majesties back to Minnesota to help celebrate important moments in the lives of two institutions founded by Swedish immigrants that play important roles in our communities and in sustaining relationships between Sweden and this country,” said Jack Ohle, President of Gustavus Adolphus College and Bruce Karstadt, President/CEO of The American Swedish Institute.

The King and Queen will help the ASI community, joined by local dignitaries, to formally dedicate both new and expanded spaces on the ASI campus, including:

  • the 34,000 square foot Carl and Leslie Nelson Cultural Center that adjoins the historic Turnblad Mansion. This sustainable building (designed to achieve LEED Gold rating) will dramatically increase available space for artistic, cultural, and historical programming as well as contemporary topics such as new immigrant experiences;
  • recent renovations to the 1908 historic Turnblad Mansion, which added a community hall, library, classrooms, and a new elevator-stairway circulation tower; and,
  • extensive exterior additions, including a large plaza area for events, festivals, and neighborhood gatherings, a green roof on the new Cultural Center, a geothermal well field for heating/cooling, increased parking areas, and other major landscaping additions and improvements.

On the Gustavus Adolphus College campus, the King and Queen will help the campus community celebrate activities of the 150th anniversary of the College, including:

  • the dedication and installation of a magnificent altar cloth produced by Gustaf V (the current King’s great grandfather). The blessing celebration will be led by Gustavus Board member Åke Bonnier, who currently serves as dean of the Cathedral Parish in Stockholm.
  • the dedication of a Sesquicentennial Plaza and sculpture, which anchors the connection between Christ Chapel, the new West Mall and the College’s Linnaeus Arboretum.
  • celebration of the opening of the Hillstrom Museum of Art exhibition 150 Years of Swedish Art. This is one of the finest art exhibits ever hosted by Gustavus, and is a collaborative exhibit of works from around 1862 (the year of the College’s founding) forward, lent by two of the most prestigious art museums in Sweden – the National Museum and the Modern Museum, in Stockholm.

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