St. Olaf mourns passing of two retired faculty members
Retired St. Olaf College faculty members Paul Fjelstad ’51 and John Treon, each of whom served the school for more than two decades, have died.
An alumnus of the college, Fjelstad was the only Ole ever to graduate with majors and departmental honors in five fields of study: physics, mathematics, chemistry, German, and philosophy. He went on to earn his doctorate at Harvard University.
He joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1967 and served as an associate professor of natural sciences until retiring in 1988. Fjelstad was one of the founding members of the Paracollege, a tutorial program that offered an alternative to the structured liberal arts curriculum. He creatively applied the science of mathematics to all facets of human life.
Fjelstad died December 3. Funeral plans are pending.
Treon, an assistant professor of history at St. Olaf who went on to serve as the registrar for more than a decade and then as director of academic events and alumni abroad programs for several years, died November 23. He was 73.
Treon joined the St. Olaf faculty as an assistant professor of history in 1968. He left in 1974 to work in the financial industry, but returned to the college in 1984 to serve as the registrar.
In 1997 he was appointed the director of academic events and alumni abroad programs at St. Olaf. In that role, he coordinated major public ceremonies such as Commencement, Honors Day, and the Peace Prize Forum. He also worked to create new academic outreach services such as study abroad programs for alumni and friends of the college. He retired from St. Olaf in 1999.
Treon earned his bachelor’s degree at Lambuth University and his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, and he was also named a research fellow at Newberry Library in Chicago.
Read more in Treon’s obituary.