The Fritt Ord Tribute 2011
Odd S. Lovoll

The Fritt Ord Foundation has decided to award the Freedom of Expression Tribute to Professor Odd S. Lovoll for his significant contribution to writing the history of Norwegian America.

Through his comprehensive body of work, Odd S. Lovoll has shed light on a wide variety of Norwegian-American topics. The recipient of the Tribute has published general accounts and specific studies, covering not least the Norwegian regional societies (bygdelag) in America and immigrants’ lives in Chicago and in small prairie towns. His latest book, Norwegian Newspapers in America, is a standard work on the Norwegian-American press.

Dr Lovoll is referred to as “the foremost historian of the Norwegian Americans”, and few have a comparable level of knowledge about and understanding of this segment of the population.

The Promise of America (1983) is Dr Lovoll’s best-known, most popular publication. The book portrays emigration from Norway to the USA and the society created by the immigrants in the new country. The Promise Fulfilled (1999) gives a contemporary depiction of that segment of the population at the change of the millennium. The book occupies a special position in recent American ethnic history.

Odd S. Lovoll is professor emeritus at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He has worked at that institution for 30 years, holding the King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies from 1992 to 2000.

Throughout his professional career, Professor Lovoll has maintained close ties with Norway as a lecturer and through speaking engagements at universities and colleges. He was employed as a professor II of History at the University of Oslo from 1995 to 2004. In 1986, Professor Lovoll was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, and in 1989, he became a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Odd S. Lovoll was born in 1934 in Sande in Møre & Romsdal County, emigrating to Seattle in 1946. Educated in Norway and USA, he studied Norwegian at the University of Bergen (1961) and history at the University of Oslo (1967). Further, he wrote his M.A. thesis at the University of North Dakota (1969) and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1973).

The tribute was awarded to Dr Lovoll on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 in the Fritt Ord Foundation’s premises. The Freedom of Expression Tribute acknowledges remarkable efforts to promote free speech, often in connection with current events. Tributes are bestowed when someone deserves them, without any constraints on their number. The tribute is accompanied by a crystal vase and NOK 100 000.