Wartburg College announces new president - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wartburg College announces new president

WAVERLY (KWWL) - Dr. Darrel D. Colson, provost and dean at Centenary College in Shreveport, La., will become the 17th president of Wartburg College.

The Wartburg College Board of Regents today announced that Colson has been elected president following an extensive search. He will begin his duties at Wartburg, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church (ELCA), on July 1.

Colson will succeed Jack R. Ohle, who resigned in April 2008 after 10 years at Wartburg to become president of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. Dr. William E. Hamm, a  Wartburg alumnus and former president of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, has served as interim president.

"I have long been drawn to the values and character of Lutheran higher education, and I have long held a very high opinion of Wartburg College," Colson said.  "As I became more deeply involved in this search process, learning more and more about Wartburg's specific mission to educate students whose leadership and service express their learning and faith, I knew that our values mine and Wartburg s were a perfect match."

Colson, who will turn 54 later this month, has a doctorate in philosophy and has distinguished himself in and out of the classroom. 

Colson will bring a strong liberal arts background to Wartburg, which will celebrate The Year of Liberal Arts in 2009-2010. He has written extensively and given numerous presentations on philosophical issues and great books.  

He is a 1977 graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was immersed in studying English, history, philosophy and political science. He became a college professor, Colson said, so that I could help young people have the same life-changing experiences I had had in college. 

Colson earned his master's degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1981 and his doctorate there six years later while teaching at Western Carolina University.

In 1987, he returned to his home state to become one of the founding faculty at the Louisiana Scholars College, an experimental honors college in the liberal arts and sciences established by the state Board of Regents. He taught there for nine years.

Colson accepted a position in 1996 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., as the Fletcher Jones Chair of Great Books. 

He returned again to Louisiana in 2002 to take his current position at Centenary. 

Colson and his wife, Christy, were high school sweethearts who wed while at LSU. She has a degree in education and is a preschool administrator. 

I could not be more delighted to have this opportunity to serve as president of Wartburg College, a wonderful school with a committed board, an engaged student body, a strong faculty, a dedicated staff, and a bright, almost boundless future, Colson said. Christy and I are eager to join the vibrant communities of Wartburg and Waverly.

The couple has two children. Rachel is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., which also is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She practices law in Washington, D.C. Jacob runs an environmental consulting firm in Honolulu, a branch of a larger company based in Shreveport.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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