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Celebrating 130 years of Northland College and 50 years of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute

Founded in 1892, Northland College has a longstanding commitment to making the world a better place physically and socially.

As the first college in the country to fully integrate an environmental focus with its liberal arts curriculum, Northland empowers students to create a more sustainable and just future. Through innovative and interdisciplinary experiences, Northland students explore the fundamental interconnections between nature, place, and people and learn how to address complex environmental and social challenges.

This year, Northland is celebrating 130 years of educating students, engaging across the state and region, and generating lasting change through various contributions including faculty and student research, field work, and community partnerships.

Simultaneously, Northland is celebrating 50 years of the Sigurd Olson Environ- mental Institute (SOEI), named for Sigurd Olson (1899-1982), known as a leader in the American environmental movement, writer, and teacher. Founded in 1972, the SOEI prepares people to meet challenges with intellectual and artistic creativity by promoting and protecting experiences of wilderness and wonder. The Institute hosts LoonWatch, the Timber Wolf Alliance, the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Awards, and numerous events for young people and adults.

The 130th anniversary of Northland College and the 50th anniversary of the SOEI will be celebrated at the College’s Fall Festival, September 21-24, 2022. Northland alumni and the local community are invited to participate in four days of celebratory activities on campus.

The celebration kicks off with a two-day environmental conference hosted by the SOEI with speakers, Rocky Barker, an accomplished environmental journalist, and Kendra Atleework, author of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award winning book Miracle Country: A Memoir of a Family and a Landscape. The milestone celebrations continue with receptions, outings, and the 130th Convocation, including special recognition of the graduating class of 2020, whose commencement was virtual due to the pandemic.