St. Olaf College | News

Retired Professor of English Steve Swanson ’54 dies

SwansonSteve250Retired St. Olaf College Professor of English Steve Swanson ’54, who helped bring the set design of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival to life for more than two decades, died August 23. He was 82 years old.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 31, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield. Visitation will be at the church one hour prior.

Working alongside his wife, Judy Seleen Swanson ’57 — a liturgical artist who designed Christmas Festival backdrops from 1992 to 2014 — and their children, Steve Swanson helped construct the set annually. The family’s work was featured in a St. Olaf Magazine story several years ago.

A graduate of St. Olaf, Swanson earned a theology degree from Luther Seminary and was a parish pastor off and on for many years.

He also followed his love for literature and teaching, earning a master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Oregon and teaching literature and creative writing at four Lutheran colleges.

Swanson also wrote a number of books, collaborated with theater faculty on plays, and created metal sculptures.

Read more in his obituary.