Minnesota native becomes first non-Norwegian to head Norway university

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A Minnesota native and Augsburg College graduate has been appointed the new president of Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA), Norway's largest university college.

Curt Rice, 52, is the first non-Norwegian to be named head of a Norwegian institution for higher education, Augsburg College said in a news release.

Rice grew up in the Bemidji area and frequently makes trips back to Minnesota in the summer, the Star Tribune reports. He graduated from Augsburg in Minneapolis in 1984, a release says, before he earned his PhD in general linguistics at the University of Texas Austin, HiOA said in a news release last week.

Rice, who with his wife Tove I. Dahl, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Augsburg in 2009.

Rice is known for his work promoting gender equality and diversity in science.

He currently works as professor at the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the University in Tromsø, Norway, where he also sits on the board. He also leads Norway's Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity in Research and is the head of the Board for Current Research Information in Norway, according to his website. He is also a published writer for The Guardian and Huffington Post.

“I am confident that Curt Rice will be a strong and clear leader for HiOA. He has robust experience in both leadership and research, and it is my belief that he will put us on the map, not least of all through his engagement as a prominent voice in higher education,” the current head of the Board and rector, Kari Toverud Jensen said in the release.

He'll begin his position as president on Aug. 1.

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