Education and health in Minnesota
Today, Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja continued their official visit to the US in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where they received a warm welcome at St. Olaf College in Northfield and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Their day began at the college, which was named after King Olav II, the canonised Norwegian monarch from the 11th century.
At St. Olaf College
Founded by Norwegian-Americans in 1874, St. Olaf College is widely recognised for the high quality of its education, particularly in mathematics and music. St. Olaf places a high premium on international experience and broad perspectives. The college offers courses in 46 countries, and more than two-thirds of the students who graduate from St. Olaf have studied abroad at least once.
The college also devotes special attention to environmental thinking and sustainability. In addition to study programmes in the environment and environmental protection, the college works actively to address environmental issues on campus as well as in the local community.
St. Olaf College seeks to provide its students with the best possible foundation for success following their studies. President David R. Anderson described for the King and Queen the colleges Main Street Initiative, which has been designed to assist students with planning their lives and careers after graduation.
King Harald and Queen Sonja also paid a visit to a Norwegian language class and spoke with the students there, before attending a reception with students and employees in the Heritage Room. Their visit concluded in the chapel, where King Harald gave a speech praising St. Olaf College, both for its high academic standards and for its involvement in the local community:
Let me commend St. Olaf College for your achievements during the years. Today I know that you are regarded as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. Indeed you reach out far beyond the classroom and into society at large with your famous choir and other important aspects of the institutions life.
The Mayo Clinic is a non-profit organisation that conducts health-related research and educational activities in addition to operating a large network of hospitals and clinics. The clinic is renowned for its high quality and focus on the patient. Many of those who seek out Mayo Clinic have been unable to obtain a clear diagnosis or adequate treatment from other health care providers.
In the afternoon, King Harald and Queen Sonja visited the clinics headquarters in the Gonda Building in Rochester. There they received a warm welcome from Dr John H. Noseworthy, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, who gave them a brief introduction to the organisations activities and vision. The King and Queen had the opportunity to meet several of the doctors at the headquarters, some of whom are of Norwegian ancestry, and learn more about their work in various areas.
The official visit continues
On Saturday, the King and Queen do not have an official programme, but on Sunday they will visit Augsburg College in Minneapolis. They will also attend a reception hosted by Governor of Minnesota Mr Mark Dayton and an official banquet hosted by Norways Ambassador to the United States, Mr Wegger Christian Strømmen.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.