Karin Dovring

Folke Dovring

The College of Media is pleased to announce the receipt of a $1million bequest from the estate of Dr. Karin and Dr. Folke Dovring to establish the “Karin and Folke Dovring Endowment Fund” to support propaganda and persuasion teaching and research in the Department of Journalism. This fund will be used to create the “Karin and Folke Dovring Professorship in Propaganda”, and to support the initiation and facilitation of research and instruction of propaganda and persuasion in the Department of Journalism. This bequest will also be used to support the “Karin and Folke Dovring Travel Award for Analysis of International Persuasion”, which will provide a financial stipend to American journalists and students of journalism for international travel, study and research. Dr. Dovring has also donated her books, manuscripts and paper to the College of Media allowing students and scholars to have access to this important work.

Dr. Jan Slater, interim dean of the college stated, “Dr. Dovring's gift is one of the largest in the College's history. Dr. Dovring was a great supporter of journalism excellence and an advocate of intellectual discovery. We are honored by the trust she placed in us to carry on her legacy and her passion.”

Karin Elsa Ingeborg was born in Stenstorp, Sweden, on December 5, 1919. She was raised by her grandmother until the age of 15 when her grandmother died. While supporting herself with clerical jobs, Dr. Dovring attended an exclusive school for girls through a scholarship. She graduated from the Gothenburg College of Commerce in Sweden in 1936. After studying comparative literature, linguistics, psychology and political science, she earned an M.A. from Lund University in Sweden in 1943, the same year she married Dr. Folke Dovring.

Dr. Dovring earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from Gothenburg University, Sweden in 1947. In 1951, she received her Swedish Ph.D. in political religious communications from Lund University. Her studies resulted in the publication of the book “Songs of Zion” that drew the attention of Dr. Harold D. Lasswell at Yale University, a world-renowned psychologist who studied and researched politics, personality, and social science. Dr. Dovring worked as Dr. Lasswell’s research associate until his death in 1978. While she was working with Dr. Lasswell, Dr. Dovring published several important books on mass communications including “Road of Propaganda: The Semantics of Biased Communication” (1959) and “Frontiers of Communication: The Americas in Search of Political Culture” (1975).

Dr. Dovring was a foreign correspondent, an internationally famous communication analyst, the author of several books and short stories, a novel, and numerous collections of poetry. She lectured at universities in Europe and North America, in the Vatican, and for the U.S. Army and Peace Corps. She was a member of the Poetry Guild and an inductee in the International Poetry Hall of Fame. Dr. Dovring was known as a crusader among American journalists to make them understand the need for knowing at least one other language and for being acquainted with the country in which that language is spoken. Dr. Dovring died on August 7, 2011 at her home in Urbana.

Dr. Folke Dovring was born was born in Rystad, Sweden, on December 6, 1916. He earned his PhD in 1947 at the University of Lund. In the 1950s Dr. Dovering served on the diplomatic staff of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. After moving to the University of Illinois in 1960, he became a world-renowned professor of land economics. During his career at the U of I, Dr. Dovring was a prolific researcher and writer, publishing over two hundred articles and sixteen books. In addition to his stellar academic career, Dr. Dovring served as a consultant to several organizations for economic development, including the World Bank. He was also a consultant to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Dovring retired from UIUC in 1987, serving as professor emeritus until his death on May 21, 1998.


If you have questions or would like to discuss donation options, please contact:

  • Marlah Bonner McDuffie
    Associate Dean for Advancement
    College of Media
    217-244-5466
    marlahb@illinois.edu