Augsburg News

News Archives - 1997

Augsburg College president announces early retirement

Search underway for successor to Charles Anderson Gov. Carlson, Mayor Sayles Belton laud his accomplishments

Feb. 10, 1997

Charles S. Anderson, president of Augsburg College since 1980, has announced that he will retire this August or September. Anderson's third six-year term as Augsburg's president would have ended in July 1998. He came to Augsburg in 1976 as academic dean after 15 years as a faculty member at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Anderson cited personal and professional reasons for his early retirement. Last July he was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, for which he underwent surgery and has been in chemotherapy since. During this time, however, he has maintained an active, busy work schedule.

"My progress with the treatment has been good, and I hope to return to my former vigor and drive," Anderson said. "But while I am grateful to have served at Augsburg for so many years, I am also aware that time is a great and valuable gift, and I wish to spend more of it with my wife, Kate, and our children and four grandsons. I believe the College will benefit at this time from new, aggressive leadership."

The Augsburg Board of Regents has taken the first steps in a search for a successor to Anderson by retaining Academic Search/Consultation Service. The Board hopes to name a new president by June, said Barbara Gage, the board's chairperson.

"President Anderson's leadership, energy, faith and pursuit of new ideas have helped Augsburg fulfill her mission to create leaders in service," Gage said. "He really epitomizes the servant leader, and he leaves Augsburg strong, healthy and ready to have a positive impact in the 21st Century."

Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, who appointed Anderson to chair the state's Youth Works Commission in 1993, said, "Dr. Anderson's commitment and leadership have had a positive impact on community service in Minnesota. He has been instrumental in the initiation of Youth Works/AmeriCorps the full-time service program for young adults in Minnesota and has been a leader in higher education service-learning. His years of dedication have been an asset to the Minnesota Commission on National and Community Service and the field of volunteerism and service."

Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton praised Anderson's effort to make Augsburg College an intentionally diverse community. "During his tenure, President Anderson has worked hard to make Augsburg a recognized center for diversity and hope for young people. His contributions to African-American, Asian-American, Native American and Hispanic students will endure, and those who follow him will be measured by the high standards he has set. We offer President Anderson our thanks for all his good works and our prayers for a healthy and happy retirement."

During Anderson's 17 years as president, Augsburg has grown and progressed on many fronts, Barbara Gage said. Some of the major developments for the College during Anderson's tenure include:

  • Growth in total enrollment from 1,470 in fall of 1980 to 2,862 in fall of 1996, and growth in the College's endowment fund value from $1.1 million in 1980 to over $15 million today.


  • The addition of several new programs. A partial listing:
    • Weekend College;
    • master's programs in social work and leadership;
    • the state's only physician assistant training program;
    • the CLASS program for physically and learning disabled students;
    • special support programs for African-American, Asian-American, American Indian and Hispanic/Latino students; and
    • the Augsburg Youth and Family Institute.

  • The addition and improvement of campus facilities, including:
    • the new $15 million Library and Information Technology Center now under construction, part of a $63 million campaign that will conclude in 1998;
    • Foss, Lobeck, Miles Center for Worship, Communication and Drama, which houses Hoversten Chapel and Tjornhom-Nelson Theatre;
    • Oscar Anderson Residence Hall;
    • extensive improvements in athletic facilities, including the seasonal air structure that covers Anderson-Nelson field during the winter;
    • remodeling of laboratories in Science Hall; and
    • with the City of Minneapolis, renovation of Murphy Square Park, which adjoins campus.

  • Charles Anderson's numerous professional accomplishments as Augsburg's president include:
    • appointment by Gov. Arne Carlson to head the Minnesota Youth Works Commission, which oversees AmeriCorps projects in the state;
    • membership on the Peace Prize Forum executive committee;
    • chairmanship of the Minnesota Private College Council in 1985-86;
    • co-founding of Minnesota Minority Education Project;
    • hosting visits to campus by two Norwegian kings Olav V in 1987 and Harald V in 1995; and
    • receiving the Knight's Cross, First Class of the Royal Order of Merit from King Harald V of Norway in 1993.