25 September 2019

Andreas Norlén, Speaker of the Riksdag, made a historic contribution to ensuring that Sweden gained a new government in a difficult situation. Sara Magnusson inspires young people to become engineers and get to grips with the problems of the future. These two are Alumni of the Year at Linköping University, 2019.

Portraits of a woman and a man Sara Magnusson and Andreas Norlén are Alumni of the Year at Linköping University. Thor Balkhed/Anna Nilsen

“Sara Magnusson works to nurture the curiosity of children for science and technology, and to inspire young people to become the engineers who can solve the large and difficult challenges we are facing”, is how the citation puts it. She has a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management and demonstrated her passion and commitment when studying at LiU. Among other things, in 2013 she was one of the founders of Experimentfabriken, where children and young people could feed their interest in science and technology with students as teachers. Her initiatives have through the years been recognised with several awards, and she can entitle herself not only Alumna of the Year at LiU, but also Future Leader of the Year.

Sara Magnusson is currently chief technical officer at Legi Lexi, a non-profit foundation that develops digital tools to help children learn to read. In addition, she is vice chair of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers.

Andreas Norlén was selected Speaker of the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament) in September 2018. The citation for the award of Alumnus of the Year describes how he “with patience, drive and respect for the democratic process worked to ensure that Sweden gained a new government in a difficult parliamentary situation”. It took four months of complex and demanding negotiations to accomplish this.

Andreas Norlén was both undergraduate and doctoral student at LiU, where he studied commercial and business law. He returns every year to his alma mater to lecture. He developed a political interest and commitment to the Moderate Party during his student years, and was elected MP in 2006, to become chairman of the Committee on the Constitution in the Riksdag in 2014. During the turbulent autumn of 2018 he became a familiar face throughout Sweden, and he has been designated Parliamentarian of the Year, one of the subcategories of the Swede of the Year awarded by Fokus magazine.

Each year, Linköping University chooses two Alumni of the Year to recognise the work and commitment of previous students. (The word “alumni” is Latin and means simply “previous students”.) Sara Magnusson and Andreas Norlén will receive their awards on 18 October at a ceremony in Studenthuset on Campus Valla.

Translated by George Farrants

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