Obituary Prof. Lennart Andersson (1929-2010)
Annals, National Association of Geographers, India, vol. 31 (1), 2011. Professor Lennart Andersson passed away on 16 November 2010. Professor Andersson came to Karlstad College (a branch of Göteborg University established in 1967) from Göteborg University in 1970.
He was born on 17 December 1929 in Hjo, was awarded a licentiate degree in 1969 and gained his doctorate in 1970. He was appointed reader in human geography in 1971 soon after moving to Karlstad as lecturer in human geography. In Karlstad, Professor Andersson began the task of building up the department of human geography. After having acted as coordinating lecturer at the College, Professor Andersson was appointed the first rector of the newly formed Karlstad University College in 1977. He held this office until his retirement in 1994, a period of 17 years. As Rector (Vice-Chancellor), Professor Andersson laid the foundations for transforming the University College into a full university, a process which was completed in 1999. Professor Andersson was keen to develop the college’s international contacts, and in 1988 he signed a cooperation agreement with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in India. This agreement has led to many trips to India for both faculty and students. In his own discipline, the agreement has resulted in one doctoral thesis and over twenty bachelor’s and master’s theses. Professor Andersson visited B.H.U. in 1994 and in connection with this visit was awarded the honorary degree of “Fellow of Indian Society for Environment and Culture, FISEC”. As Rector (Vice-Chancellor), he contributed to the development of the department of human geography into a broader geography department, which included not only human geography but also teaching training in geography, tourism studies and GIS-studies.
During his term of office as rector, Professor Andersson remained active in his discipline, participating in seminars and supervising the first doctoral students, which led the Swedish government to grant him the title of professor in 1987. Professor Andersson became more involved in his field as he approached retirement, contributing to the research group working on “Planning Issues in Marginal Areas” during the 1990s and the international group “Commission on Issues of Geographical Marginality” under the aegis of the International Geographical Union (IGU) in the 1990s and 2000s. Apart from generating ideas, he invested great effort in disseminating and discussing the results of research carried out in Karlstad. Right up to the end of his life, he contributed to the work of the department of human geography, particularly in the supervision of doctoral students, reading manuscripts and taking part in meetings with other supervisors; he was also one of the most frequent participants in the advanced seminar in the discipline. In connection with Professor Andersson’s retirement in 1994, a fund was set up to facilitate an annual “Lennart Andersson Seminar”, which has taken place in the department ever since.