Augustana College printing logo

Presidents of Augustana College

Lars Paul Esbjörn, 1860-1863

In 1860, Esbjörn and his colleagues formed the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod which immediately founded its own school, Augustana Seminary. Esbjörn was asked to serve as president. On Sept. 1 in Chicago, the college opened its doors to 21 students.

Conrad Bergendoff, 1935-1962

Bergendoff brought with him an ecumenical ideal and sought to bring together the intellectual and the spiritual in education. When the Synod in 1948 voted to sever the ties between Augustana College and the Theological Seminary he was disappointed at the decision.

T.N. Hasselquist

Tufve Hasselquist, 1863-1891

T.N. Hasselquist championed Augustana's move to Paxton, Ill., but by 1870 it was clear the school was not thriving and he oversaw the move to Rock Island in 1875. He emphasized the importance of retaining the curriculum of classics, language, religion, science, and mathematics.

C.W. Sorensen

Clarence Sorensen, 1962-1975

Sorensen was the first president not be be ordained. His presidency spanned the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of conflict and change on campuses nationwide. Yet, while meeting student (and faculty) challenges, Sorensen built Augustana in a number of ways.

Olof Olsson

Olof Olsson, 1891-1899

Olsson was ordained but also trained as an organist and brought an interest in music and theology to the college. He welcomed the students from the local community; led the effort to strengthen athletics by building a gym; introduced the first in a series of library publications; and encouraged the growth of literary societies.

Thomas Tredway

J. Thomas Tredway, 1975-2003

During his presidency small liberal arts colleges faced increased pressures. Augustana retained its liberal arts focus for a traditional residential college-age student body. Maintaining a steady enrollment, the college was able to grow in ways that enhanced its educational mission.

Gustav Andreen

Gustav Andreen, 1901-1935

Andreen was the first president to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also was the first president to mount an organized fund-raising campaign to establish an endowment. Despite its religious foundation, the college under Andreen was open to all academic knowledge.

Steven Bahls

Steven C. Bahls, 2003-

His tenure has seen the implementation of "Authentically Augustana: A Strategic Plan for a Premier Liberal Arts", curricular changes including Senior Inquiry and Augie Choice, the completion of Swanson Commons, a residential facility, and renovation of Carlsson Evald Hall.