Prince Olav of Norway
Olav V was originally christened Alexander Edward Christian Frederick. He was born on July 2, 1903, in Appleton House in Norfolk, Great Britain, as the only child of Prince Carl of Denmark (later King Haakon VII of Norway) and Princess (later Queen) Maud. When his father was crowned king of Norway in 1905, the son became crown prince and was given the name Olav. In 1929 Crown Prince Olav married his cousin, Princess Märtha of Sweden. Together they had three children, Princess Ragnhild Alexandra, Princess Astrid Maud Ingeborg and Prince Harald.
It was learned early in 1939 that Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway would be visiting New York. Concordia College invited the prince to be that year's commencement speaker. Prince Olav consented.
The royal couple's visit was highly celebrated in the Fargo Moorhead area with many articles in the Fargo Forum and activities in the area. The princess arrived by train at the Great Northern depot at about 2 PM on Thursday (June 8, 1939). She was met by local officials and taken to the home of Congressman L.B. Hanna, where the royal couple stayed during their visit. The prince arrived by automobile from Grand Forks about 4:30 PM Thursday. The royal couple were given a tour of Concordia later that afternoon and attended the 48th commencement ceremony at 8 PM. At the ceremony during which the prince delivered at address, 83 seniors received their college degree. During that same ceremony, Prince Olav received the first honorary doctorate degree granted by Concordia.
On Friday (June 9), the couple led a parade from Moorhead to Fargo in the morning. Subsequent activities that day included a speech by the prince in Island Park, a band concert at NDAC (NDSU), a tour of NDAC, Oak Grove Seminary, and St. Luke's Hospital. After a rest at the Hanna home, the couple attended a public banquet at the NDAC's physical education building.
The couple concluded their visit Saturday morning with a reception at the Moorhead city armory hosted by Minnesota Governor Stassen. Afterward, the couple continued their travels moving on to Fergus Falls.
Olav became king of Norway in 1957, returning to Concordia in October 1982 for a third campus visit and recalling that in 1939 he had urged the college to keep its windows open to Norway. The college has done that, as evidenced by the visit of King Harald V and Queen Sonja to the campus in 1995.