The Ella and Kaare Nygaard Foundation

The Ella and Kaare Nygaard Foundation supports projects that provide benefits to St. Olaf College and aid in carrying out that institution’s educational objectives. Within this broad purpose, the Foundation will support: activities which foster appreciation and understanding of the visual arts in general and sculpture in particular; activities which promote the understanding of the medical profession, its history, and its practice; and activities which foster an appreciation of the Norwegian heritage of St. Olaf College by developing closer ties between the College and Norwegian cultural and educational institutions.

Dr. Kaare Kristian Nygaard

Kaare Kristian Nygaard was born on November 24, 1903, at Lillehammer, Norway. He received his M.D. degree cum laude from the University of Oslo and practiced briefly in Norway before beginning further study and research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

In 1940, Dr. Nygaard began a large surgical practice in White Plains, New York. His patients included many prominent persons such as Trygve Lie, Percy Grainger, and Alexander Calder. During World War II, he established a special hospital ward that cared for more than 4,000 sick or injured Norwegian sailors. In recognition of his extraordinary service, he was honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of St. Olav, First Class, by King Haakon VII.

Dr. Nygaard had a life-long interest in the visual arts, especially sculpture. Hiroshima, a sculpture of his own creation, won the United Nations contest for design of a stamp commemorating the Year of the Refugees. In addition, he served as associate professor and artist in residence for sculpture at the State University of New York in Purchase. By bequest, he gave all his remaining works of sculpture to the Ella and Kaare Nygaard Foundation and St. Olaf College.

In 1976, Dr. Nygaard’s 43-year marriage to Ella Frey ended with her death. He retired from his surgical practice in 1979, and he died in Scarsdale, New York, on April 22, 1989. He is buried in Lillehammer, Norway and is survived by his second wife, Gail Delgado Nygaard.