Swedish American of the Year
Bruce Karstadt is honored for his work in making the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota the successful cultural institution it is.
Bruce Karstadt, president and CEO at the American Swedish Institute, photographed for Nordic Reach by Henrik Olund.
Årets Svensk-Amerikan 2018
The Vasa Order of America is very proud to appoint Bruce Karstadt as the Swedish-American of the Year 2018.
This award recognizes exceptional work by an individual in his or her profession or valuable work for promoting good relations between Sweden and the U.S. or Canada, in part highlighting Swedish America. Bruce Karstadt is honored for his work in making the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota the successful cultural institution it is.
Karstadt was born in 1951 in Lindsborg, Kansas, a town founded by Swedish immigrants to which his great-grandparents immigrated in the late 1800s. He was the fourth generation of his family to graduate from Bethany College, then he went on to law school at the Washburn University School of Law. He later joined Bethany’s administrative staff as Legal Counsel and Executive Assistant to the President. There, he became involved in supporting the organizing committee for the New Sweden ’88 bi-national celebration, which led to his interest in pursuing a career that would contribute to strengthening relationships between Sweden and America.
In 1990 Karstadt was named the president and CEO of the American Swedish Institute (ASI) in Minneapolis, an organization founded in 1929 by Swedish newspaper publisher, Swan J. Turnblad. He was first appointed as Honorary Consul of Sweden in 1995, and since 2003 he has served as Honorary Consul General of Sweden for Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. Notably, Karstadt has also overseen the design and construction of the ASI’s acclaimed 2012 contemporary addition to the original Turnblad mansion, which has allowed the institute to grow more dynamically in serving the community as a vibrant museum and cultural center with work of internationally recognized artists and in collaboration with many leading institutions in Minnesota, Sweden and the Nordic region.
Karstadt is the 58th winner of this award, a commemoration of the Swedish immigration to North America by the Vasa Order of America since 1960. The celebration of Bruce Karstadt will take place in Växjö, Sweden on August 10-12.