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Interpreting the Promise of America

Book CoverInterpreting the Promise of America: Essays in Honor of Odd Sverre Lovoll
Nichol, Todd W.
ISBN 0-87732-093-4
220 pp. Copyright © 2002, The Norwegian-American Historical Association

Odd Sverre LovollOdd Sverre Lovoll is an actor in the story of emigration and immigration he has studied so deeply. A native of Sunnmøre, Norway, he brought his family permanently to the United States in 1967.

After taking examinations at both the Universities of Bergen and Oslo, in 1969 Odd Lovoll received the M.A. degree from the University of North Dakota, where he also taught from 1967 to 1970. In 1970 he began teaching at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and in 1973 he completed the Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota with a specialization in immigration history. His doctoral dissertation was later published by the Norwegian-American Historical Association as A Folk Epic: The Bygdelag in America

During his thirty years of service at St. Olaf College, Odd Lovoll served the institution in several capacities. A member of both the Norwegian and history departments, he was for a number of years chairperson of the Norwegian department. Throughout these busy years, he was tireless in his work on behalf of the Norwegian-American Historical Association. Appointed as editor of the organization in 1980, Lovoll assisted in the creation of a new relationship between the association and St. Olaf College when the editorship was linked to a professorship in the college's history department by the terms establishing the endowment of the King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies. In 1992 Odd Lovoll became the first occupant of the King Olav V Chair and held this appointment until his retirement in December of 2000.

"Norwegian-American ethnicity remains a vital and progressively changing factor of American life."

- Odd Sverre Lovoll
The Promise Fulfilled

In his capacity as editor of the Norwegian-American Historical Association, Lovoll edited and supervised the production of thirty-three books. Lovoll's activity as an author and editor has not, however, been confined to the work of the association. His many books and articles, listed in the bibliography included in the pressed volume, are further evidence of interest and competence in a broad array of fields.

Odd Lovoll's work as a scholar has attained wide notice. He was decorated with the Knight's Cross First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in 1986 by King Olav V and in 1989 he was inducted into membership in the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Among the many honors that have come to him in the United States are awards from the state historical societies of both Illinois and Wisconsin.


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