HM The King's speech at Gustavus Adolphus College

St. Peter, USA

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Your Majesty,
Mr. Ambassador,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Her Majesty the Queen and I have traveled the past days from Stockholm to New York, further to Minneapolis and now to St. Peter. We could imagine the Swedish immigrants journeys. Their challenge was a difficult task, filled with danger, hardship and loss. It was an expression of optimism and an investment in their future.

When the immigrants left their homeland, they started a new life and built communities to honor their heritage and homeland. Those communities, like St. Peter in Minnesota, are forever linked with shared values and a shared history.

Swedish children learn the emigrant story and know it as a source of pride. Swedes celebrate the individuals who came to America 150 years ago and left their mark across this land. We may not be a large country, but we have left an impact on America and especially Minnesota.

The immigrants came to this country with few possessions. But wherever they traveled, they carried with them a sense of community, their strong faith and a belief in the opportunities an education can provide.

I can note that the five core values of the College -- Excellence, Community, Justice, Service and Faith -- are as important to the students today as they were to the men and women who founded this College in 1862.

My motto is, "For Sweden - With the Times." Perhaps, also for today's celebration, this can be the motto for the College's relationship with Sweden. We cannot simply live in the past. You must look for the opportunities to renew and make real what the College's relationship with its homeland can be.

Gustavus has many connections with Sweden today. Your relationship with the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel Conference, as well as the many exchange programs you have for students are different ways to celebrate the best of today's Sweden. Your Scandinavian program is a model of how an educational institution can stay connected to its roots while encouraging its students to understand the sacrifices of those who prepared the way.

We also note that our recently installed bishop in Skara, Mr Åke Bonnier, is a member of your board of trustees. And, I am pleased that your board was able to travel to Sweden last summer to kick off the 150th anniversary of the College. We are proud of what you have done in these first 150 years and look forward to the coming years.

It is also remarkable to see the hand stitched altar cloth in this beautiful chapel, which my great-grandfather, Gustav V, made. I hope that when displayed, it will remind you of your continued connection to your homeland. Please care for it, treasure it - I know it is in good hands.

Now finally, The Queen and I would like to congratulate you on the anniversary and we wish you good luck in the future.

Thank you!