Strengthening Berkeley's ties to Scandinavia

“It’s given us a lot more independence to support worthy students and worthy projects.”

— Mark Sandberg, the Barbro Osher Chair for the Department of Scandinavian

Berkeley’s Department of Scandinavian is one of only three freestanding academic departments in North America dedicated to the study of Scandinavian languages and literature — and it’s become stronger. Longtime Berkeley benefactors Barbro and Bernard Osher (pictured) made a generous gift to the College of Letters & Science that created an endowed chair for the department, enhancing its excellence and flexibility.

“It’s given us a lot more independence to support worthy students and worthy projects,” says Professor Mark Sandberg, noting that the chair’s funding has helped send the department’s five faculty and 10 graduate students to Scandinavia for research and conferences.

The chair also aligns perfectly with the philanthropic interests of the donors. A native of Stockholm, Barbro serves as the Swedish consul general in San Francisco, and together the Oshers are among the nation’s most generous benefactors of education and the arts.

“I think there is quite a great interest in what the Nordic countries are about — not just their language and culture but also the social and political consciousness that is prevalent there,” Barbro said after making the gift. “That’s important, and I hope it continues that way.”

Learn more!

Explore the department’s website

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