Going Viking 2021

Norway House honors distinguished individuals and organizations from the Norwegian-American community


On June 22, Norway House in Minneapolis hosted its annual signature fundraising event, Midsommer Gala, presenting an online program in the format of a late-night talk show, the “Not-So-Late Show.”

As part of the evening’s festivities, Norway House featured the recipients of this year’s Going Viking Awards, awarded to celebrate individuals and organizations “who embody the adventuresome and bold spirit of the Vikings by inspiring their communities to explore and discover new frontiers with courage and determination.”

Dr. Karen Nyberg

Dr. Karen Nyberg, 2021 Going Viking HonoreeKaren Nyberg is an engineer, astronaut, and artist, who, through nearly 30 years of experience in human spaceflight, has gained an appreciation for the value of working within and across diverse political ideologies, cultural values, and world views to advance critical missions.

Nyberg was selected as a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000. She made her first trip to space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 2008, during the height of the International Space Station (ISS) construction, delivering and installing the Japanese Laboratory. On her second spaceflight in 2013, Karen launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and lived and worked at the ISS for 166 days.

Prior to astronaut selection, Nyberg worked as an environmental control systems engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she led several design and analysis initiatives in the areas of space vehicle and space suit thermal and environmental control. Recently retired from NASA, Nyberg is currently pursuing interests in the areas of conservation and sustainability, fully appreciating the responsibility for innovation and technology to strive to meet those needs.

Nyberg is also a talented artist and accomplished seamstress. During her last mission in space, Karen showcased her artistry by sewing while living on the ISS and sparked a worldwide quilting project to commemorate the effort.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, and has been honored with the highest alumni award from each alma mater.

Nyberg lives in Houston with her husband, astronaut Doug Hurley, their dinosaur-loving son, Jack, and two sweet dogs, Leo and Luke. 

Dr. Michael Osterholm

Dr. Michael Osterholm, 2021 Going Viking HonoreeMichael Osterholm is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.

In November 2020, Osterholm was appointed to President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s 13-member Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. From June 2018 through May 2019, he served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. He is also on the Board of Regents at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Osterholm has been an international leader on the critical concern regarding our preparedness for an influenza pandemic. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, in which he details the most pressing infectious disease threats of our day and lays out a nine-point strategy on how to address them, with preventing a global flu pandemic at the top of the list.

He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council of Foreign Relations. He was appointed by Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity in 2005. In 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics.

In addition to his role at CIDRAP, Osterholm served as a special adviser to then HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness from 2001 to 2005. He was also appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Council on Public Health Preparedness, and in 2002, he represented Thompson on the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Previously, Osterholm served for 24 years (1975 – 1999) in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, the last 15 as state epidemiologist. He has led numerous investigations of outbreaks of international importance, including foodborne diseases, the association of tampons and toxic shock syndrome, and hepatitis B and HIV in health care settings.

Dr. William H. Halverson

Dr. Bill Halverson, 2021 Going Viking HonoreeWilliam H. “Bill” Halverson is considered one of America’s leading authorities on the life and work of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. 

Halverson served on the faculties at Augsburg College in Minneapolis (1959 – 1967) and the Ohio State University in Columbus (1967 – 1987). Since retiring from Ohio State in 1987, he has devoted much of his time to the translation of books and other materials dealing with Norwegian music, including translations of over 130 song texts by various Norwegian, Danish, and German poets in Edvard Grieg: Complete Works, and research and translation for canonical texts such as A History of Norwegian Music and Edvard Grieg: Diaries, Articles, Speeches.

He has given public lectures on the life and works of Edvard Grieg at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, colleges and universities throughout the United States, and in Norway. He has written or translated the liner notes for numerous CD recordings of Norwegian music. He played several important roles in the production of the Norway House CD Edvard Grieg: Songs from the Heart, the first professional recording of songs by Edvard Grieg sung in English—serving as the creator of the English versions of the lyrics, author of the liner notes, and project coordinator.

Halverson was the recipient of the Inger Sjöberg Translation Prize by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, he served as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Advanced Study of the Norwegian Academy of Letters and Science in Oslo, and he was appointed Knight First Class of the Royal Order of Merit by His Majesty King Harald of Norway “for his contribution to the furtherance of Norwegian culture in the USA and particularly for his superb translations of Norwegian song texts and of Norwegian literature about music, which as a result has been made better known, especially in the USA.”

Grace Grinager, Going Viking Young Professional

Grace GrinagerGrace Grinager is a public health professional living and working in Cook County, Minn.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has led her community’s response efforts—striving to keep people well-informed and able to access the tools and resources they need to make public health recommendations a part of their daily life. Grace strongly believes in the value of community engagement and has woven partnerships into the foundations of her county’s emergency preparedness work by collaborating with local businesses, medical organizations, and schools. While the pandemic is by no means over, she is proud of the work of the Cook County and Grand Portage communities to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19.

Grinager holds a master’s degree in applied anthropology and public health from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.

Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace, Going Viking Affiliate Organization

Ingebretsen's logoIn 1921, Charles “Bud” Ingebretsen Jr. was born. That same year his father, Charles Ingebretsen Sr. opened the Model Meat Market on East Lake Street in Minneapolis.

Ingebretsen Sr. emigrated from Norway in the early 1900s, the only member of his family to leave the country. He went to Fargo, N.D., and learned butchering. He then came to the Twin Cities where the Scandinavian-American community was flourishing in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. His first business was at 1808 Riverside, a location close to both the Southern Theater, which had entertainment for Swedish immigrants, and the railroad switchyards, employing many Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes. He soon expanded the business, opening several other meat markets serving the Norwegian community, including the Model Meat Market on East Lake St., strategically located on a streetcar line.

The East Lake St.  location, in the words of granddaughter Julie Ingebretsen, “is the one that stuck.” By that time, the Scandinavian residents in the neighborhood were beginning to disperse to the suburbs and the intense loyalty to ethnic-specific grocery stores began to lessen, but Ingebretsen’s stayed true to its origins.

Bud Ingebretsen took on a partner, Warren Dahl. Dahl brought with him his recipes for Swedish meatballs and other traditional foods that have since become signature items in the butcher shop.

In 1974, Julie Ingebretsen was between jobs, when her family suggested that she manage the new gift store at Ingebretsen’s. Julie accepted, thinking that she would take the job “for a while.”

Julie is manager to this day, and Warren’s son Steve, who has been working in the store since 1965, has taken over the management of the meat market. Ingebretsen’s has been at 1601 East Lake for 100 years.

To learn more about Norway House and the Going Viking honorees, including personal interviews, you can view their online gala at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vapz0hd02vY&t=830s.

Visit the Norway House website at: www.norwayhouse.org.

All photos courtesy of Norway House.

This article originally appeared in the July 9, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.