Vice-Chancellors’ Portraits

Gösta Mittag-Leffler by Robert Thegerström

  • Title: Professor of Mathematics
  • Tenure: 1886 & 1891-2
  • Artist: Robert Thegerström
  • Date: 1912
  • Dimensions: 108x84cm
In 1881 Gösta Mittag-Leffler was made a professor of pure mathematics and was a strong supporter of the women’s movement throughout his career. One sign of his and the college’s board radical and liberal ideas was that he pushed for Russian mathematician Sonja Kovalevsky’s appointment as senior lecturer and eventually as professor, making her the first female professor in Sweden. Mittag-Leffler and Kovalevsky mingled with the era’s cultural and intellectual elite including Henrik Ibsen, Ellen Key and Fridtjof Nansen. Mittag-Leffler also fought for instructors to have deciding power over new professorships, even though Stockholm College’s board considered that power to be theirs.5
Gösta Mittag-Leffler made great contributions to the field of mathematics and has a named chair to honour him.

1 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978, p. 25
2 Ulla Wikander, Kvinnoarbete i Europa 1789–1950. Genus, makt och arbetsdelning. Atlas Akademi: 1999, s.

3 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978, p. 35
4 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978, p. 35
5 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978, p. 26

Read more

Wilhelm Leche by Oscar Björk

  • Title: Professor of Zoology
  • Tenure: 1887-90
  • Artist: Oscar Björk
  • Date: 1910
  • Dimensions: 130x113cm

Wilhelm Leche was a champion for accessible adult education and the chairman of Stockholm’s Worker Institute for 25 years.1 He received an appointment as zoology instructor in 1880 and was the first college instructor without external duties. He was made a full professor four years later.2 Leche was famous for his ability to make complex topics easily understandable and to inspire his students whom he treated as equals. His students were allowed to do their own research early on in their education.3 His research of the teeth of fossilised animals became crucial to understanding the development of dentition.4 Oscar Björk completed the portrait in 1910 to celebrate Leche’s 60th birthday and 30 years of service to Stockholm College.

1 Svenskt biografiskt lexikon
2 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978, p. 25
3 Sven Tunberg, Stockholms högskolas historia före 1950, p.46
4 Svenskt biografiskt lexikon

Read more

Svante Arrhenius by Almar Bech

  • Title: Professor of Physics
  • Tenure: 1897-1902
  • Artist: Almar Bech (1935 – copy of work by Richard Bergh)
  • Date: 1935
  • Dimensions: 118x104cm

Svante Arrhenius became a tenured physics professor at Stockholm College in 1895, but received even more accolades for his work in chemistry.1 Arrhenius was the first person to demonstrate that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels cause a greenhouse effect that in turn affects the global climate.2 Arrhenius’ many lectures and short publications speak to his desire to engage the general public. After his professorship he even wrote popular science books that were translated into a number of languages.3 His work on electrolytic dissociation earned him the Nobel Prize in 1903, making him the first Swede to receive the honour.4

1 Tunberg, Stockholms högskolas historia före 1950, p.75
2 Stockholms universitets webbplats
4 Nationalencyklopedin ”Svante Arrhenius”

Read more

Gerard De Geer by Hanna Pauli

  • Title: Professor of Geology
  • Tenure: 1902-1910
  • Artist: Hanna Pauli
  • Date: 1924
  • Dimensions: 130x89cm
Gerard De Geer was a pioneer of Scandinavian geology. His research focused on using measurements to determine the course of deglaciation.1
His research extended from Sweden to a number of expeditions to North America, the Himalayas, South America, and Central Africa and last but not least to Spetsbergen on the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard to which he returned repeatedly.2 De Geers relatively long tenure reflects his ability as a collecting force and he was known as a loveable and generous person.3 He was also an inspector at the worker institute which educated workers and people with little or no formal education.4

1 Nationalencyklopedin
2 Nationalencyklopedin
3 Tunberg, Stockholms högskolas historia före 1950, p. 105
4 Svenskt biografiskt lexikon

Read more

Dag Norberg by Sven Ljungberg

  • Title: Professor of the Latin language and Literature
  • Tenure: 1966-1974
  • Artist: Sven Ljungberg
  • Date: 1969
  • Dimensions: 84x94cm

A donation in 1948 endowed a professorship in Latin at Stockholm College, and Dag Norberg became the college’s first professor in that area.1 He became vice-chancellor in 1966, around the same time that Stockholm College became Stockholm University. Norberg played a central role in the university’s move from inner Stockholm to the newly constructed Frescati campus.2 During the 1960s the student body increased markedly, from 6 000 to 28 000.3 As a teacher Norberg was inspiring and pragmatic. Many of his students became professors both inside and outside of Sweden.4

1 Tunberg, Stockholms högskolas historia före 1950, p. 155
2 Nationalencyklopedin
3 Fredric Bedoire, Per Thullberg, Stockholms universitet 1878–1978 s.164
4 Dagens nyheter – Till minne av Dag Norberg

Read more

Gunnel Engwall by Carin Adler

  • Title: Prof. in romantic languages
  • Tenure: 2003-2004
  • Artist: Carin Adler
  • Date: 2005
  • Dimensions: 101x81cm

Gunnel Engwall was educated at Stockholm University where she received her master’s in Romantic languages.1 Engwall was a long time chairperson at Vitterhetsakademin which works to highlight research in the human sciences.2 The academy also initiates and supports international research for its fields of study. Engwall also participated in the discussion on the location of the new Nobel Centre.3 Currently she is in the Department of Romance Studies and Classics at Stockholm University where she has been a professor since 1989.4 Her research focuses on quantitative linguistics and Strindberg’s authorship.

1 Stockholms universitets webbplats
2 Vitterhetsakademiens webbplats
3 Debattinlägg i Dagens samhälle
4 Stockholms universitets webbplats

Read more