Ed Egerdahl - B.A., 1977

Submitted by Gregory R Pflaumer on

Ed founded and has been the Director of the Scandinavian Languages Institute in Seattle for forty years. Ed’s journey to becoming a Norwegian language teacher began when he was a math major at UW in the early 1970s. Since his father was Norwegian, Ed decided to take a Norwegian class in the Scandinavian Studies Department, then he went to Norway to meet some of his father’s relatives. Upon his return, he gave a presentation about his trip to his younger brother’s Norwegian class at Ballard High School. The presentation led to teaching his own Norwegian classes at Ballard High School and Ed changed his major from math to Norwegian. The chair of the Scandinavian Studies Department lobbied for Ed to be accepted into the College of Education so that he could receive a teaching certificate in Norwegian in addition to his Scandinavian Studies degree. Ed first taught in Seattle public schools, then began teaching community courses in Norwegian where he could not keep up with the demand. He established the non-profit Norwegian Language and Learning Center and in the first year they had a hundred students in two locations. In the late 1970s, a professor in the Scandinavian Studies Department told Ed about the soon to be open Nordic Museum and lobbied on his behalf to have language classes taught at the museum. Once the Nordic Museum opened, the program expanded to cover all Scandinavian languages and became the Scandinavian Language Institute. At his peak, Ed taught fourteen Norwegian classes per week in Seattle, Bothell, Everett, Edmonds, and on Whidbey Island; he currently teaches nine Norwegian classes per week. He has also been a tour guide to Norway each summer since 1980. In addition to learning Norwegian to the point of mastery, Ed recalls his time in the Scandinavian Studies Department as providing him with a good foundation for running a language program.