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Luther Seminary President Richard Bliese Resigns

Monday, December 10, 2012

St. Paul, Minn—(Dec. 10, 2012)—Luther Seminary announced today that Rev. Dr. Richard Bliese, seminary president since 2005, has resigned, and the seminary plans to name an interim president shortly before launching a national search for a successor.

“We are thankful for all Rick has done during his years at Luther Seminary,” said Board Chair Jim Lindus. “His compelling vision, unwavering commitment to Luther Seminary’s mission and aggressive strategic plan have helped the seminary maintain a healthy enrollment of students, a stellar faculty and strong financial support from loyal and dedicated donors.”

“While we continue to function at a high level, we are facing a difficult combination of challenges, not unlike those faced by many other institutions of higher education.  These challenges include deferred maintenance charges related to aging buildings, the costs of delivering a wide variety of educational programs and a nationwide drop in the number of students attending seminaries.”

Pastor Lindus said this transition comes at a time when the financial performance of the seminary has lagged expectations. Prior to President Bliese’s resignation, the seminary started to take positive measures to ensure its financial health. That included the hiring of Dr. William Frame as interim CFO.  “We’re excited to have someone of Bill’s caliber on board. His expertise will be invaluable during this time of transition.” Frame, who for the past 20 years served as the CFO for Pacific Lutheran University near Tacoma, Wash., and as president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, started last week. He replaces Don Lewis, former Vice President of Finance and Administration, who resigned last month.

The seminary is working diligently on a plan that continues to elevate Luther Seminary’s position as an institutional and visionary leader, and helps maintain its financial strength and viability.

Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities across the country and around the world.  It is the largest of the eight seminaries in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).