The Georg and Nina Pedersen Endowed Professorship

Submitted by Stacey Breitberg on
Georg and Nina Pedersen with Professor Marianne Stecher-Hansen

At a Celebration of Life for Georg E. Pedersen (1934 – 2022), held on 15 January 2023 at the National Nordic Museum, it was announced that Nina Pedersen has fully funded an endowment to the professorship level ($500,000) in honor of her late husband.  This recent and very generous gift establishes The Georg and Nina Pedersen Endowed Professorship in Danish Studies at the UW. The professorship will enhance the University’s ability to recruit and retain faculty in the field of Danish language and literature in the Department of Scandinavian Studies. An endowed professorship ensures a future for the Danish program by helping to support a faculty position for many years to come. Importantly, it will help to recruit a new professor of Danish, when Professor Marianne Stecher-Hansen eventually retires. The Georg and Nina Pedersen Endowed Professorship will help support many aspects of the Danish professorship by funding research, book publications, conferences, student programs, invited speakers, and collaborations with Danish colleagues. It will mean that the Danish dimension of our distinguished Scandinavian Studies department at UW will continue to thrive for many decades.

Now that the Pedersen Endowed Professorship is fully funded, it can continue to grow by means of gifts from other individual donors; hopefully, it will eventually reach the level of an Endowed Chair of Danish Studies. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible gift to the Georg and Nina Pedersen Endowed Professorship, please visit or contact Marianne Stecher-Hansen ( who will connect you to the Advancement officer at UW.

Here is a brief tribute to Georg E. Pedersen, who sadly passed away on November 21, 2022.  Georg was born in 1934 in Rødvig, Denmark and began sailing at the age of 14. He became a US Citizen in 1961, and joined the Masters, Mates and Pilots in 1962. His memoir book, My 48 Years at Sea: From Deck Boy in Denmark to Captain in America, chronicles stories from many of the 62 ships he served on including Gateway City’s rescue of 51 Vietnamese refugees on July 13, 1978. Years later, many of those refugees and their families met with Georg to thank him for his part in that rescue. He was Chief Mate at the time, and in an NBC News interview, as the interview was being recorded, Georg said: ‘What you have to realize is that when you are out on the open sea, we are all brothers and sisters. If someone needs help, you give them help!’

Video: How A Sailor Reunited With Vietnamese Refugees He Rescued After The Fall Of Saigon

Georg E. Pedersen was always a true humanitarian and a sailor’s sailor.  The last ship he sailed on was the M/V Sea-Land Tacoma. He was a member of the Danish Club, the Swedish Club, Northwest Danish Association, National Nordic Museum, and the Council of American Master Mariners. He was also a Master Mason.

Georg and Nina Pedersen have created a lasting legacy, which benefits the community in the Pacific Northwest and generations of University of Washington students. The faculty of the Department of Scandinavian Studies and the Danish program extend their heartfelt gratitude to Nina and honor Georg with warmest memories!

Æret være Georg Pedersens minde!