Historian Rolf Grankvist, Ph.D., is a seminal figure in the history of LEIF. It was a 1994 conversation with Prof. Grankvist that inspired our founder, Kristine Leander, to form the Leif Erikson International Foundation and begin raising funds for our first project, the Leif Erikson statue replica in Trondheim.
Grankvist holds degrees in history and English, and spent 46 years as an educator, beginning with elementary and high schools in Norway. He was a professor and dean at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim from 1980 to 1996, and dean emeritus and professor from 1997 to 2005. He is now a professor emeritus. He also served three appointments as a visiting professor at the University of Washington, has made multiple visits to Seattle and the U.S., and collaborated closely with American colleagues.
The author of some 150 books in English, Norwegian and German, Prof. Grankvist was the elected leader of the local historical association in Trondheim from 1969 to 1979. It was during this time that he became interested in the saga texts naming Leif Erikson as the first European to come to America.
Prof. Grankvist was the guest speaker for LEIF’s celebration of Leif Erikson Day in Seattle on Oct. 12, 2014, as well as Seattle’s 17th of May Festival in 2015, where he served as grand marshal. We’re pleased to present the speeches he delivered on those occasions.
Together these speeches represent a comprehensive history of:
The two Sagas of Leiv Eiriksson
Leif Erikson Day in America
LEIF’s work to place statues of the famous Viking in Trondheim, Greenland and Newfoundland
Our efforts to create a monument to Nordic emigrants in Seattle
Future historians—whether armchair resarchers or serious scholars—will benefit from Prof. Grankvist’s well-informed and studied organization of these facts and histories.
Keynote Address—Leif Erikson Plaza, Oct. 12, 2014
Grand Marshal speech—May 17, 2015
Speech—May 14. 2015