New scholarship from Sons of Norway

The Warne-Eng prize helps students attend Oslo’s International Summer School

Photo courtesy of NACC Greater Seattle Chapter Doug Warne speaks after being named NACC’s Person of the Year. According to Warne, funding scholarships “really is fun to do.”

Photo courtesy of NACC Greater Seattle Chapter
Doug Warne speaks after being named NACC’s Person of the Year. According to Warne, funding scholarships “really is fun to do.”

Leslee Lane Hoyum
Rockford, Minn.

Attending the 1959 International Summer School (ISS) in Oslo, Norway, changed a young man’s life. Doug Warne of Seattle, Wash., the son of a Ballard halibut fisherman, says his Norwegian educational experience so influenced his life that it actually shaped his values, his goals, his desire to become an educator, and even how he married and raised his family. Today his personal goals still reflect his ISS experience: establishing scholarships, including one with the Sons of Norway Foundation.

Warne says, “I wanted to attend a ‘Junior Year Abroad’ program at the University of Oslo. However, they didn’t have one; so they told me to apply to the University of Oslo International Summer School. I did and I was accepted. Then I applied for a Rotary scholarship. I didn’t get it.” For most people that would be disheartening; for Warne it turned out to be fortuitous.

As compensation for his scholarship loss, the local Ballard Rotary Club wrote Warne a letter of introduction to the Akersborg Rotary Club in Oslo. That letter led him to the Rolf and Wenche Eng family with whom he stayed after the ISS term; they became life-long friends. Warne’s daughter, too, studied at the ISS and also met the Engs, who have hosted five ISS students over five decades.

After Warne’s daughter returned from a successful ISS experience, he took time to reflect on the significant influences Norway and Norwegians had had on their lives. “Beyond our experiences,” Warne said, “I wished for a way to expose others to such influences. Since I was an educator, it became my interest and then my passion to do something about scholarships.” And so he has.

The new Sons of Norway scholarship, called the Warne-Eng Scholarship, creates an opportunity for qualified applicants to attend educational institutions in Norway and helps defray the costs of tuition, and room and board. An applicant must be a current member of Sons of Norway or Rotary or the child or grandchild of a member. However, an applicant with no parent or grandparent in Sons of Norway or Rotary may find a member to advocate for or represent him or her in the application process. More details are located on the Sons of Norway Foundation website at The application deadline is April 1.

The name Doug Warne may sound familiar to many readers. He is the familiar voice of the “Scandinavian Hour,” which he has hosted for 55 years. In fact, when he returned from the ISS in 1959, he learned that the ever-popular program from the 1920s was about to shut down. So, along with two friends, Ron Olsen and Ingri Stang, he volunteered to keep the program from certain extinction.

Warne also has served as president of the Norwegian Commercial Club and Leif Erikson Lodge of the Sons of Norway and secretary of Leif Erikson Recreation Association Board, and he is a current member of the Board of Governors of the Sons of Norway Foundation. In 2012 he was selected as the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Seattle Chapter’s, Person of the Year. He also has established scholarships with the Leif Erikson #2-201 Sons of Norway Lodge through the Douglas Warne Vocational Scholarship, and ISS scholarships with the Seattle Foundation and the Norwegian Commercial Club.

Warne highly encourages people to pay forward while they are still alive. “It’s exciting to witness the results now,” he says. “A great way to set up and build an endowment fund,” he says, “is to include minimum withdrawals from one’s IRA. Along with IRA withdrawals, the endowment can be supplemented with gifts of appreciated stock, insurance, and cash. The endowment will grow to the point where it eventually starts funding one’s passion. I highly recommend it.”

Established in 1966, the Sons of Norway Foundation provides funding for research and promotion of Norwegian heritage and culture, offering six scholarship and four grant categories. For more information, e-mail Sons of Norway at, or call (800) 945-8851.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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