OAK PARK HEIGHTS – Glen Brolander of Boutwells Landing Senior Center will be awarded the Swedish Council of America’s "Great Achievement Award" next month for his longtime leadership in Swedish activities in America.
He and Eva Eriksson, Governor of Varmland, Sweden, since 2004, will each receive the council’s Great Achievement Award on April 13, in conjunction with SCA’s 40th anniversary celebration at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.
Starting in 1980, a Great Swedish Heritage Award was presented by SCA to recognize Americans and Swedes who had worked to strengthen relations between the two countries. Recipients include business leader Curt Carlson, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, College President Edgar Carlson, University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo and Ambassador Franklin Forsberg. Posthumous presentations were made to Carl Sandberg, Charles Lindbergh, Edgar Bergen and Dag Hammarskjold.
In 2011, the award was re-designated the Swedish Council of America Great Achievement Award, with the first presentation to Siri Eliason of San Francisco. Brolander and Eriksson are the second year’s honorees.
Brolander, who is 100 percent Swedish, and his wife, Elaine, who is 75 percent Swedish and 25 percent Norwegian, moved to Boutwells in 2002. Brolander’s interest in his Swedish heritage started 40 years ago, when he joined the staff of Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., the oldest of all Swedish-American colleges, where he served as vice president for financial affairs.
In 1972, Brolander became president of the Augustana Chapter of the American Scandinavian Foundation. That same year, he and Elaine visited the original homes of their great-grandparents, and Glen Brolander learned one branch of his family was also a branch of the Swedish noble family Uggla.
During his career, he has served as chair of both the Swedish-American Historical Society and the Swedish Council of America. In 1979, on his 50th birthday, Brolander was awarded the Order of the North Star. In 1998, he was named Swedish American of the Year by the VASA Order, with three weeks of special experiences in Sweden.
One of Brolander’s most important contributions to the Swedish-American community was securing gifts, in both the U.S. and Sweden, for the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College. Glen chaired the Swenson Center Advisory Committee until 2004.