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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

This week in St. Olaf history

By Mark Forsberg
Staff Writer

Friday, May 2, 2008

From 1985-1992, NBC's "Golden Girls" featured Rose Nylund, a small-town Midwestern woman from a town called St. Olaf. Betty White portrayed Rose as a naïve Scandinavian who just believed that "life [was] a musical comedy."

White's character developed when the college public relations staff agreed for Golden Girls writers to use St. Olaf's name as Rose's hometown. According to Rose, St. Olaf, Minnesota could be found traveling from Minneapolis, going south and entering town on toboggan or donkey cart service.

The St. Olaf Choir visited the set of "Golden Girls" while on tour in 1989 and led the cast in "Um Yah Yah." After connecting with Oles themselves, White made an esteemed visit to campus May 3-4, 1992.

While on campus, White attended a softball game, a St. Olaf Choir concert, a chapel service, signed autographs and had lunch with members of the student government.

Former president Mel George gave the chapel address on May 4, 1992, honoring White and alluding to her character's childlike desire for peace.

George concluded, "Thank you, Rose, for reminding all Americans, even as they giggle nervously at some things you do, that being open, humble, dependent, and vulnerable like a child is something to be admired."

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