Harold Ditmanson Chair of Religion

This fund, first established in 1988, has reached the spending goal of $1.5M.  The professorship is to honor Harold Ditmanson, Professor of Religion.  Harold H. Ditmanson retired in 1986 after 40 years on the faculty of St. Olaf College.  His impact on the lives, self-understanding, and religious convictions of students has been significant over the years.  “Ditt” had the unique ability to integrate intellectual and theological issues with literature, ethics, and history in such a way as to give credibility to the religious understanding.  He assisted students in nurturing that religious understanding and interfaith comprehension of religious questions into a mature faith and life, enriched by the values of a liberal arts education.  The “Harold Ditmanson Chair of Religion” will support a faculty member who is a distinguished scholar of the Lutheran tradition as personified in the career of Dr. Ditmanson.

Current Chair:

Professor L. DeAne Lagerquist came to St. Olaf in 1988, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994 and Professor in 2004.  She served as chair of the Religion department for two different periods and as senior tutor of the Paracollege for five years.

Her research has focused on the history of Christianity and of the church.  She has won awards for her scholarship, including the Choice award for Outstanding Academic Book of the Year for In America the Men Milk the Cows: Factors of Gender, Ethnicity, and Religion in the Americanization of Norwegian-American Women and the Award of Commendation, Concordia Historical Institute, for From Our Mothers’ Arms.

In addition to the five books she either authored, edited or co-edited, Professor Lagerquist has published numerous referred articles and given many presentations, focusing on Lutheranism, vocation, and higher education.  In 1994 she received the J.C.K. Preus Leadership Award, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Professor Lagerquist has served as program coordinator for seven years for the Lutheran Academy of Scholars, a two-week residential faculty program. Beyond St. Olaf, she has been active in many ELCA and Lutheran boards, committees and planning groups.