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Grand View Receives $500,000 Gift To Establish The Albert V. Ravenholt Visiting Scholars Endowment


Grand View University announced on Friday, June 1 that it has received a pledge of $500,000 from The Albert Ravenholt Fund to underwrite the Albert Ravenholt Visiting Scholars Endowment.  This endowment will support Grand View University in articulating and presenting the relevance of the philosophies of N. S. F. Grundtvig to modern life and society.  

Income from the Ravenholt Endowment will allow Grand View to commemorate alumnus Albert Ravenholt’s many contributions to international journalism and higher education and his commitment to the work of Danish philosopher and theologian N.S.F. Grundtvig.  Upon maturation of the endowment in 2016, Grand View will annually select and host an Albert Ravenholt Visiting Scholar.  This visiting scholar will typically will spend one to two weeks per year on campus for the purposes of:
• Delivering one or more presentations to the general public, community groups, and organizations
• Delivering classroom presentations
• Engaging with faculty and students in informal dialogue
• Visiting with broadcast and print media representatives

Individuals selected to become Albert Ravenholt Visiting Scholars will be publicly acknowledged and outstanding representatives of thought in their fields.  The types of fields represented by the Scholars will relate to Grundtvig’s emphasis on the intrinsic value of learning as a foundation for living useful and enjoyable lives, and being active citizens.  Scholars with the ability to relate Grundtvigian thought and action to contemporary society and the modern world will be favored.  Scholars may, for example, be chosen from the fields of education, theology, civics, international relations, philosophy, sociology, as well as new or emerging fields of thought. 

Albert Victor Ravenholt, 1919- 2010, was born into a farming family in Luck, Wisconsin.  He attended Grand View College, Des Moines, IA before leaving to work at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Inspired to travel, he hitchhiked across the country to California where he signed on as cook on a Swedish freighter sailing for Asia and on to the Mediterranean Sea and Marseilles, France, before returning around Africa to Shanghai where he remained.

During 1941 and 1942, Albert led the trucking of medical supplies for the International Red Cross on the Burma Road and into the Chinese interior. From 1942 to 1946 he served as a war correspondent for the United Press International in the China-Burma-India theatre where he interviewed such luminaries as Mao Zidong, Zhou Enlai, and Ho Chi Minh. In 1946, Albert married Marjorie Severyns, who was then serving with the OSS, in Shanghai. Later that year they returned to the United States where Albert became a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs and studied at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellows Associate in 1947 and 1948. Albert and Marjorie then returned to China where he reported on the Communist takeover of China and wrote widely for the Chicago Daily News and the Institute of Current World Affairs. In 1985, they were among the seven veteran journalists invited to return to China by the Deng Xiaoping government.

Albert was a founding member of the American Universities Field Staff and from 1951 continued his research and writing throughout Asia for many decades.   Albert provided guidance to John D. Rockefeller III in the creation of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and, with his wife Marjorie, endowed at the University of Washington the annual Severyns-Ravenholt Lectureship, the purpose of which is to promote awareness of contemporary Asian politics, economics, and cultures. In 1998, Albert was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Grand View University.

For many decades, Albert and Marjorie maintained homes in both the Philippines and Seattle where Albert was an early investor in real estate on Bainbridge Island and in Sagemoor Farms on the Columbia River near Pasco. As a result of his life-long interest in agriculture, Albert developed mango and coconut plantations in the Philippines, provided early support for the nitrogen-fixing tree association, and was a pioneer grower of wine grapes in Washington State.

Grand View sincerely appreciates  the opportunity to honor Albert Ravenholt, and is grateful to the Trustees of the Albert Ravenholt Fund for establishing this memorial at the University.