The Swenson Center is located in Denkmann Hall on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. The Center maintains a close relationship with the College and the Scandinavian Studies program.

The Swenson Center was founded by Birger and Lyal Swenson on December 31, 1980. Birger Swenson emigrated from Sweden in 1912, graduated from Augustana College, and worked for the Augustana Book Concern. The endowment established by the Swensons provided the initial financial support for the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center.


Dag Blanck 2022.jpg

Dag shares his time between the United States and Sweden, where he is professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University. Trained in the U.S. (Augustana ’78) and Sweden (Ph.D., Uppsala) he has published extensively on Swedish-American history and Swedish-American relations.


Lisa is happy to help with your library and archival research needs. She is an Augustana graduate and has her master's in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. In addition to answering your reference questions and cataloging materials, she holds the rank of Assistant Professor and teaches library instruction sessions.


Jill Seaholm

Head of Genealogical Services

Jill will be glad to help with all your genealogy and membership needs. As an Augustana graduate, Jill has been assisting genealogists at the Center since the early 1990s. She also runs our genealogy workshop in Salt Lake City and heads the publishing of Swedish American Genealogist.


Kelsey Fuller-Shafer

Library/Archives Assistant

Kelsey helps support our library/archives tasks, including research and processing projects. With a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from University of Colorado Boulder, she is also a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Scandinavian Studies program at Augustana College. 

Mission Statement

The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center is a national and international research center, library and archives for the study of Swedish-American history and relations.


The Center collects, preserves and makes available archival and library materials, promotes and initiates research and is a leader in Swedish-American genealogy.

Vision Statement

The Swenson Center strives to be a leading national and international institution for the study of Swedish-American history and relations.

Purpose Statement

The Center focuses its work on the transatlantic migration, contacts and exchanges between Sweden and North America, in particular: 

  1. The study of Swedish immigration to North America, of Swedish-American individuals, communities and institutions, and of the position of Swedish Americans in the larger American social context.

  2. The broader cultural, social and political relations between the two countries and their ways of interacting with each other—past and present. 

At Augustana College, the Center is a key part in the College’s historic and ongoing connections with Sweden.


Internships & Employment

High Fives


Internships are available during the school year and summer. Students gain hands-on experience with library and archival task. Internships are typically unpaid, but there may be opportunities for funding. Learn more.

Student Employment

The Center typically employs 3 student workers during the school year and 1 over the summer. Opportunities are posted to Handshake.


Any full-time or part-time positions are posted on the Augustana College employment page.

Advisory Committee

The Center's Advisory Committee is responsible for guiding the mission, overall policy and direction of the Center and making recommendations regarding the Center to the Center’s Director and the President of Augustana College.

Term Ending 2022

Dr. Anne-Charlotte Harvey

Professor Emerita of Theatre, San Diego State University


Bruce Karstadt

CEO, American Swedish Institute


Dr. Adam R. Kaul

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Welfare, Augustana College


Dr. Joy K. Lintelman

Professor of History, Concordia College


Dr. Harald Runblom

Professor of History, Uppsala University, Sweden


Term Ending 2023

Dr. Jennifer Eastman Attebery

Professor of English; Director, Folklore Program, Idaho State University


Dr. Ellen Hay

Professor Emerita of Communication Studies, Augustana College


Kerstin Lane

Former Executive Director of the Swedish American Museum, Chicago


Dr. Douglas Nelson

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Augustana College


Dr. Mark Safstrom

Associate Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Augustana College

Term Ending 2024

Brianne Berogan

Director of Advancement Services and Data Analysis, Augustana College

Dr. Adam Hjorthén

Senior Lecturer, Swedish Institute for North American Studies, Uppsala University

Kelly Lao

Director, German American Heritage Center, Davenport, IA

Dr. Mariano Magalhães

Professor of Political Science, Augustana College 

Mike Swanson

Archivist, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota

Ex-Officio Members

Augustana College Representatives


Steven Bahls

President of Augustana College


Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost and Dean of Augustana College


Micaela Terronez

Special Collections Librarian, Thomas Tredway Library, Augustana College




Dr. Dag Blanck



Lisa Huntsha



Jill Seaholm

Head of Genealogical Services


Dr. Kelsey Fuller-Shafer

Library/Archives Assistant