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Midland mourns the death of the Rev. Dr. L. Dale Lund
The Rev. Dr. L. Dale Lund, president emeritus of Midland University and former president of Bethany College, died Saturday, July 14, 2012, at the age of 93. Memorial services will be held August 2 at Sinai Lutheran Church in Fremont, Neb. Dugan Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services in Fremont is in charge of arrangements.
Born in Wakefield, Neb., on February 22, 1919, the son of Florence and Emil Lund, he attended a one-room country school for eight years and graduated from Wakefield High School. He attended Luther Junior College (merged with Midland College to form Midland Lutheran College in 1962) and received a bachelor of arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1940. In 1945, he received the master of divinity degree from Augustana Seminary (later merged with four other seminaries to form the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago). He received the doctor of philosophy degree from Drew University in 1957.
Ordained to the Lutheran ministry in 1945, he served as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Attleboro, Mass, until 1947 when he began his distinguished career in higher education. As chaplain and associate professor of religion at Upsala College in East Orange, N.J., in 1947, he pursued graduate studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J., on a part-time basis while he enjoyed what he called a “happy, productive and rewarding ministry.”
Dale and Ruth Carlson were married on August 3, 1946, in Attleboro, Mass., where Ruth was an organist of the church, and Dale served as pastor. Their marriage was blessed by four children, Philip, Mary, Kent, and Christine.
In 1958, Dr. Lund accepted a call to the presidency of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan. While at Bethany, Dr. Lund stewarded a period of growth in enrollment, fund-raising and academic programs.
A deep interest in theological education led him to become dean of the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1965. Dr. Lund played an instrumental role in the formation and growth of the newly-established institution.
Midland Lutheran College elected him to its presidency in 1968. Returning to the college ranks to which he felt called, he served for thirteen years. As president, Dr. Lund instituted significant change to the operations of the college and initiated programs that would grow into pillars of Midland’s commitment to student and community service. He led the adoption of an academic calendar that is still in use today and earned accreditation for Midland’s four-year nursing degree program.
Dr. Lund’s impact on the Midland community was not limited to his time as president. Actively pursuing his passion for enriching the lives of young people, he remained a vibrant fixture of the campus.
“Dr. Lund served for 13 years as president here at Midland but his indelible imprint upon the institution will impact generations of students yet to come. His contributions to Midland, to Fremont, and to the church are living tributes to a man who lived life with passion,” said current Midland president Dr. Ben Sasse.
His lasting legacy is evidenced across the Midland campus. Lund Hall, a residence hall dedicated in 2004, sits as a prominent landmark. An endowed scholarship given by Dr. and Mrs. Lund in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary continues to create new opportunities for Midland students.
After retiring from Midland, he served several months as president of Planned Giving Services of the Nebraska Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. He also remained active as a speaker, teacher, writer and supply pastor.
Among his most cherished awards were an honorary doctorate from Midland, an alumni achievement award from Gustavus Adolphus College, and a citation from the student body of Bethany College. He and his wife, Ruth, were jointly inducted into the Midland Warriors Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of their steadfast attendance and support of athletic programs.
Dr. Lund often said, “I spent my life betting on young people.” Hundreds of alumni, colleagues and friends are glad he did.
Director of Communications