Augsburg News

News Archives - 2004

Leona Eng Rokke, class of '52, receives one of Norway's highest distinctions

Aug. 9, 2004

His Majesty Harald V of Norway has bestowed one of Norway's highest distinctions, the St. Olavs Medallion, to Leona Eng Rokke, Augsburg class of '52, on July 10 at a banquet of the Seven Lag Stevne in Willmar.

"All her adult life this person has graciously given of her time to keep and strengthen the strong bonds between Norway and the upper Midwest," said Norwegian Consul Anita Helland at the ceremony. "She is still very active, and when I see the strength and energy she has, I'm sure she will continue her good work."

Rokke has written, edited, indexed and served on boards and committees for many groups. She is an outstanding genealogist who has shared her knowledge with others through various publications and lectures. For more than a decade, she edited Avisen, the newspaper of the Norwegian-American Genealogical Associations. She has also been a board member of the Bygdelagenes Fellesraad, and for years she has been doing volunteer work on a weekly basis for the Norwegian-American Historical Association. She has been a trustee of the Vesterheim Museum for 20 years and chair of the Vesterheim Genealogy Committee. As an active member of the Sons of Norway, Rokke wrote the genealogy guide for the Cultural Skills Program. She maintains contact with Norway and regularly helps facilitate American visits to the "home farm" in Sigdal.

Rokke's parents were both Norwegian immigrants. Her father, Leonard Eng, from Troms, taught her about the rich heritage that her Norwegian fisher-farmer ancestors have given her; and her mother, Gudrun Bakken Eng, from Kradsherad, baked and sold lefse to pay Rokke's way through Augsburg College. Rokke is married to David Rokke, Augsburg class of '52, who shares her interest in their "Norwegianess."

"For Norway and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General," Helland continued, "it is a true privilege to have dedicated people like Lee Rokke working together with us."