Office of the President
Luther Seminary Announces Interim President
St. Paul, Minn—(Dec. 14, 2012)— The Luther Seminary Board of Directors is pleased to announce they have named Richard J. Foss as interim president of Luther Seminary.
Rick Foss has been at Luther Seminary since 2008, when he became director of Contextual Learning. He previously served as bishop for the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a position he held since 1992.
Foss holds a bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.; a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary; and a Master of Theology from Luther Northwestern Seminary. He was ordained in 1971 and has served congregations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington. In 1995, he was named as one of three finalists for presiding bishop of the ELCA. He has served the governing boards of Luther Seminary; Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.; and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, among others.
“We are so fortunate to have found such a strong leader who already understands and believes in the mission of Luther Seminary,” said Board Chair Jim Lindus. “While we considered many candidates from around the country, Rick was clearly the right choice.” Foss will assume the responsibilities of interim president on January 1, 2013.
One of Foss’ top priorities will be to work with Dr. Bill Frame, interim CFO, and others to resolve the short-term fiscal issues. Progress has already been made as new financial controls and managements systems have been introduced. A plan will be implemented to enhance the seminary’s financial strength and viability, leveraging the strong financial assets that are already in place.
“We thank Rick for his willingness to lead in this time of transition and are pleased to work with him in this capacity,” said Lindus. The seminary looks forward to embracing challenges and opportunities while continuing to live out its mission.
For more information, contact:
Rev. James M. Lindus
Chair of the Luther Seminary Board of Directors
Administrative Assistant, President's Office
Northwestern Hall, NW 210
Director of Marketing and Communications
Northwestern Hall, NW 140
Luther Seminary President Richard Bliese Resigns
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.