Alumni Reflections

Scandinavian Seminar has an extensive alumni network made up of program participants since 1949.

Here are some reflections from the alumni on the impact their Scandinavian Seminar experience as a folk school student had on their lives:

"Over the years since I attended the Seminar in 1956 and 1957, I have had an active interest in Scandinavia and that had a profound effect on the President and the Ambassadorial Appointments Committee when my name was proposed as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway. Without the years at the Seminar, I would never have been considered for this important position. And the knowledge of the language and of the society were two things that helped the Ambassadorial Appointments Committee choose me. Who you know is never a substitute for knowledge. I can truly say that the Seminar changed my life."

Louis A. Lerner
U.S. Ambassador to Norway from 1977-80

"How did studying arts and crafts in Sweden prepare me for my work as a public interest lawyer and lobbyist? During my Seminar year, I saw the social and political problems of my own country from the outside, and through the eyes of my Swedish friends. It gave me a fresh perspective on issues I had always just accepted. It was also an enlightening experience to be immersed in the culture of a country that deals with these problems in a very different way. This experience was one of the factors which led me to become a public interest lawyer – and a lobbyist for a cause and issues I believe in."

Melissa Nappan
Attorney at Law

"In my present work I deal directly with not only high net worth, but also well-traveled individuals. Having overseas travel experience of my own has been invaluable in understanding the needs and desires expressed by many clients. I can think of no better way than an experience such as what the Scandinavian Seminar program offers for an individual, young or old, to begin to learn about themselves, American values and another culture."

Guy Merriam
First Officer at Comerica Bank

"My year with Scandinavian Seminar influenced both my artwork and my architecture. It also instilled a travel bug in me that has led me to live in North Africa, Korea, Vietnam, Italy and England."

Anthony Whiting

"The Seminar made the world accessible to me for the first time. Because of my Seminar participation, the world has become smaller; I can make the transition from culture to culture more easily."

Susan Shaw
Health Facility Consultant

"The Seminar gave me a chance to look at people and life and to talk. It was an exhilarating and exciting year and a priceless opportunity. I saw in Denmark how humanely a medical system can function."

William Wynn



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