The university has a long connection with Norway. The Tacoma university was founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1890, and students from Norway make up its largest group of international students. Commencement is May 23.
The king will receive a Doctor of Laws jure dignitatis, according to a press release from the university, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. He also is scheduled at a fundraiser for PLU’s exchange programs with Norway and will meet with Norwegian students.
“Lutes all around the globe feel honored to have King Harald V as our most distinguished guest and Commencement speaker to mark our Quasquicentennial year,” said PLU President Thomas W. Krise in a prepared statement.. “His Majesty’s presence will underscore our deep personal and institutional ties to Norway—ties that began in 1890 and continue robustly today.”
The visit to PLU is part of the king’s official visit to Washington and Alaska from May 20-28.
“Speaking at Commencement is a first, and a great testament to how important His Majesty feels Pacific Lutheran University is both for quality education and the influence it has had—and will have—in progressive support for social justice and collaboration in our global community,” said Consul of Norway Kim Nesselquist. Nesselquist is also the director of PLU’s Office of Advancement.
King Harald V and his wife Queen Sonja visited PLU in 1995, when the queen received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, according to the press release.
Norway has a constitutional monarchy, which means that the king serves as a figurehead and his role is mostly ceremonial. Norway has had sovereigns for more than 1,000 years, but the current house has ruled Norway since 1905, when the country became independent of Sweden.