As a Norwegian journalist, Einar Lunde ’65 watched empires fall, corresponded with Nobel Peace Prize winners and was accused of being a spy. That career, which earned him the nickname “Walter Cronkite of Norway,” began at Concordia.
Lunde was a student at Concordia in 1961-62.
He returned to campus in June to donate two best-selling books (written in Norwegian), “Paradisveien” and “Safari,” to the Carl B. Ylvisaker Library. Both books carry the name of Concordia on the inside cover.
During his year on campus, Lunde delved into his study of the English language and enjoyed life on the third floor of the Grose Hall residential hall. He cemented friendships with his roommate, Dr. Olaf Storaasli ’64, recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award in 2009, and his host family’s “big sisters,” Joanne (Hanson) Negstad ’58 and Mary (Hanson) Trodahl ’62. Negstad received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1999.
But what changed his life was a one-hour weekly radio program that he hosted on campus radio.
“I got hooked on journalism,” Lunde says. The rest, as they say, is history.
In June 1970, he was named the first permanent TV news anchor in the history of Norwegian television. His career also took him to Africa where he served several turns as a foreign correspondent.
There he lived through the 1974 Ethiopian revolution and was accused of being a spy by the Ethiopian Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Organization. Intervention by the Swedish government saved his life.
He covered famines and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Lunde was the first Norwegian journalist to interview Nelson Mandela after Mandela’s release from prison and still corresponds regularly with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“For 40 years, I had opportunities to meet many of the leaders of the world,” he says.
Today Lunde conducts tours of South Africa for Norwegians who want to follow in Mandela’s footsteps.
Returning to Concordia felt like returning home.
“It all started here,” Lunde says. “Concordia can make a difference in a life. It did for me.”