Christopher M. Thomforde Installed as St. Olaf College's 10th President

Apr 29, 2001, 01:00 ET from St. Olaf College

    NORTHFIELD, Minn., April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Christopher Meredith Thomforde
 was inaugurated as St. Olaf College's 10th president in an historic and
 colorful academic ceremony today at the college.
     Thomforde, 54, bowed his head as a six-inch silver medallion on a silver
 chain was placed around his neck by Martin E. Marty of Chicago, Ill., chair of
 the St. Olaf Board of Regents, and Jerrol M. Tostrud of Eagan, Minn., vice
 chair of the board of regents.  The presentation was witnessed by more than
 3,000 people, including former Ambassador to Norway Sidney Rand, one of three
 St. Olaf presidents emeriti who participated, and the Rev. H. George Anderson,
 presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
     Thomforde emphasized to the audience that the college's mission statement
 and strategic plan "express our commitment to diversity.  Our financial aid
 program is need-blind.  Our curriculum has always featured study of foreign
 languages and diverse cultures.  We are the leader in international studies,
 sending two-thirds of our students overseas for direct international,
 multicultural experience.
     "We currently have 2,000 students working through 40 student volunteer
 organizations to make the community a better and more humane place," Thomforde
 added.  "We have much to celebrate."
     But he said St. Olaf should seek "to sharpen our commitment to the
 vocation of service: service to the poor, to the forgotten, to those on the
 fringes of society.  I would like to direct this mighty river of good work
 (St. Olaf College) with all of its creative and energetic tributaries toward
 social justice."
     Thomforde's inauguration started and ended with a procession of 350
 faculty members from 75 other colleges and universities -- all garbed in robes
 with the distinctive colors of their institutions and academic disciplines.
 It was punctuated with music by the renowned St. Olaf Choir and the St. Olaf
 Orchestra, and included choreography created for the inauguration by St. Olaf
 dance faculty member Janice Roberts and music composed for the event by music
 faculty member Peter Hamlin.
     The inauguration was the highlight of four days of gala events that
 started Thursday, April 26, and included five concerts, two worship services,
 two performances of a Roman comedy, an art exhibit, a dance festival, a
 community celebration and a spectacular fireworks display.
     Guest speaker for the event was librarian of Congress James Billington, a
 personal friend and former Princeton professor of Thomforde's.  As librarian
 of Congress, Billington oversees the world's largest repository of
 knowledge -- more than 28 million printed items and 119 million items in all
 formats.  As librarian of Congress he follows in the footsteps of poet and
 writer Archibald MacLeish and author and historian Daniel Boorstin.
     Thomforde was named president of the 126-year-old St. Olaf College last
 September following an extensive national search.  He began work as the
 college's president on Jan. 15.  The college, an institution of the
 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is nationally recognized for its
 quality liberal arts curriculum and its international studies programs.
     Thomforde summarized his view of the college by saying: "The mission of
 St. Olaf College is characterized by intellectual curiosity, creative
 expression and sacred passion.  We celebrate and affirm this mission today.
 For well over a century the light of curiosity has been beaming from this
 hilltop.  Let it shine brightly into a world which is too easily satisfied
 with the glib answer, the slick phrase and hollow moralism. Let curiosity
 light our way so that we might face life with clarity, with hope and with
 honesty.
     "I call upon us to become faithful stewards of privilege," Thomforde
 added, "committing ourselves to be an institution of higher education and a
 community of the gospel which inspires its students, educates them and then
 launches them into lives, careers, vocations of service, and service to the
 poor.  The many, many voices are calling to us, saying: Remember us, shelter
 us, comfort us, teach us and feed us. These are the voices of the poor!  We
 dare not turn our faces away in fear. We dare not believe that the situation
 is too grave, too complex for us to make a difference.  We dare not succumb to
 indifference, ignoring the cries and the signs of injustice all around us.  We
 dare not believe cynically that the present state of affairs serves our
 economic and social ends.  A global society built upon such extremes -- rich
 and poor, healthy and diseased, well-fed and malnourished, literate and
 uneducated -- cannot endure its own internal contradictions."
     Thomforde graduated from Princeton in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in
 medieval and Russian history.  He earned a master's of divinity degree from
 Yale University Divinity School (with concentrations in biblical studies,
 church history and philosophy), and he completed a doctor of ministry degree
 at Princeton Theological Seminary.
     From 1996 until this year he was president of Bethany College, another
 ELCA college, in Lindsborg, Kan. Before that he served for 10 years as
 chaplain of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.  He also served as a
 parish pastor in Dansville, N.Y., where he did work at Attica prison and was
 named Citizen of the Year; served as assistant chaplain at Colgate University
 in Hamilton, N.Y.; and, after learning Mandarin Chinese, taught western
 languages and medieval European history for two years at Tunghai University,
 Taichung, Taiwan.
     Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomforde grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and
 graduated from Long Island Lutheran High School.  He is married to Christine
 Stone Thomforde, a registered nurse and accomplished cellist.  They have three
 grown children.
 
     St. Olaf College prepares students to become responsible citizens of the
 world, fostering development of mind, body and spirit.  A four-year,
 coeducational liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
 America (ELCA), St. Olaf has a student enrollment of 2,950 and a full-time
 faculty complement of approximately 300.  It is one of Money Guide's top 100
 "elite values in college education today," and it leads the nation's colleges
 in percentage of students who study abroad.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X34312214
 
 

SOURCE St. Olaf College
    NORTHFIELD, Minn., April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Christopher Meredith Thomforde
 was inaugurated as St. Olaf College's 10th president in an historic and
 colorful academic ceremony today at the college.
     Thomforde, 54, bowed his head as a six-inch silver medallion on a silver
 chain was placed around his neck by Martin E. Marty of Chicago, Ill., chair of
 the St. Olaf Board of Regents, and Jerrol M. Tostrud of Eagan, Minn., vice
 chair of the board of regents.  The presentation was witnessed by more than
 3,000 people, including former Ambassador to Norway Sidney Rand, one of three
 St. Olaf presidents emeriti who participated, and the Rev. H. George Anderson,
 presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
     Thomforde emphasized to the audience that the college's mission statement
 and strategic plan "express our commitment to diversity.  Our financial aid
 program is need-blind.  Our curriculum has always featured study of foreign
 languages and diverse cultures.  We are the leader in international studies,
 sending two-thirds of our students overseas for direct international,
 multicultural experience.
     "We currently have 2,000 students working through 40 student volunteer
 organizations to make the community a better and more humane place," Thomforde
 added.  "We have much to celebrate."
     But he said St. Olaf should seek "to sharpen our commitment to the
 vocation of service: service to the poor, to the forgotten, to those on the
 fringes of society.  I would like to direct this mighty river of good work
 (St. Olaf College) with all of its creative and energetic tributaries toward
 social justice."
     Thomforde's inauguration started and ended with a procession of 350
 faculty members from 75 other colleges and universities -- all garbed in robes
 with the distinctive colors of their institutions and academic disciplines.
 It was punctuated with music by the renowned St. Olaf Choir and the St. Olaf
 Orchestra, and included choreography created for the inauguration by St. Olaf
 dance faculty member Janice Roberts and music composed for the event by music
 faculty member Peter Hamlin.
     The inauguration was the highlight of four days of gala events that
 started Thursday, April 26, and included five concerts, two worship services,
 two performances of a Roman comedy, an art exhibit, a dance festival, a
 community celebration and a spectacular fireworks display.
     Guest speaker for the event was librarian of Congress James Billington, a
 personal friend and former Princeton professor of Thomforde's.  As librarian
 of Congress, Billington oversees the world's largest repository of
 knowledge -- more than 28 million printed items and 119 million items in all
 formats.  As librarian of Congress he follows in the footsteps of poet and
 writer Archibald MacLeish and author and historian Daniel Boorstin.
     Thomforde was named president of the 126-year-old St. Olaf College last
 September following an extensive national search.  He began work as the
 college's president on Jan. 15.  The college, an institution of the
 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is nationally recognized for its
 quality liberal arts curriculum and its international studies programs.
     Thomforde summarized his view of the college by saying: "The mission of
 St. Olaf College is characterized by intellectual curiosity, creative
 expression and sacred passion.  We celebrate and affirm this mission today.
 For well over a century the light of curiosity has been beaming from this
 hilltop.  Let it shine brightly into a world which is too easily satisfied
 with the glib answer, the slick phrase and hollow moralism. Let curiosity
 light our way so that we might face life with clarity, with hope and with
 honesty.
     "I call upon us to become faithful stewards of privilege," Thomforde
 added, "committing ourselves to be an institution of higher education and a
 community of the gospel which inspires its students, educates them and then
 launches them into lives, careers, vocations of service, and service to the
 poor.  The many, many voices are calling to us, saying: Remember us, shelter
 us, comfort us, teach us and feed us. These are the voices of the poor!  We
 dare not turn our faces away in fear. We dare not believe that the situation
 is too grave, too complex for us to make a difference.  We dare not succumb to
 indifference, ignoring the cries and the signs of injustice all around us.  We
 dare not believe cynically that the present state of affairs serves our
 economic and social ends.  A global society built upon such extremes -- rich
 and poor, healthy and diseased, well-fed and malnourished, literate and
 uneducated -- cannot endure its own internal contradictions."
     Thomforde graduated from Princeton in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in
 medieval and Russian history.  He earned a master's of divinity degree from
 Yale University Divinity School (with concentrations in biblical studies,
 church history and philosophy), and he completed a doctor of ministry degree
 at Princeton Theological Seminary.
     From 1996 until this year he was president of Bethany College, another
 ELCA college, in Lindsborg, Kan. Before that he served for 10 years as
 chaplain of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.  He also served as a
 parish pastor in Dansville, N.Y., where he did work at Attica prison and was
 named Citizen of the Year; served as assistant chaplain at Colgate University
 in Hamilton, N.Y.; and, after learning Mandarin Chinese, taught western
 languages and medieval European history for two years at Tunghai University,
 Taichung, Taiwan.
     Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomforde grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and
 graduated from Long Island Lutheran High School.  He is married to Christine
 Stone Thomforde, a registered nurse and accomplished cellist.  They have three
 grown children.
 
     St. Olaf College prepares students to become responsible citizens of the
 world, fostering development of mind, body and spirit.  A four-year,
 coeducational liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
 America (ELCA), St. Olaf has a student enrollment of 2,950 and a full-time
 faculty complement of approximately 300.  It is one of Money Guide's top 100
 "elite values in college education today," and it leads the nation's colleges
 in percentage of students who study abroad.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X34312214
 
 SOURCE  St. Olaf College