Notable Norwegians: Dr. Owen Wangensteen

David Moe Dr. Owen Wangensteen was born September 21, 1898, to Norwegian immigrant parents. From his youth, he had great intellectual curiosity. He served as chief of surgery at University of Minnesota Hospitals from 1930 until his retirement in 1967. In 1954, he married Sarah Davidson of St. Paul, Minnesota, called “Sally” by her friends. Sally was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College in 1930, majoring in English and History. Dr. Wangensteen became a pioneer in open-heart surgery in the 1950s. Two of his former students, Dr. Christian Barnard and Dr. Norman Shumway, performed the first heart transplant surgeries in the world. Due to Dr. Wangensteen’s interest in research, he raised the funds to build the fifth floor of Diehl Hall to house the library and h
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The Norwegian American

Published since May 17, 1889 PO Box 30863 Seattle WA 98113 Tel: (206) 784-4617 • Email:

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