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President Bahls extends contract to 2022

The Augustana College Board of Trustees and President Steve Bahls have agreed to a contract renewal that continues his presidency through May 2022.

They agreed to a contract renewal through the 2021-2022 academic year to provide continued leadership at Augustana. 

“During times of great challenge, there is zero substitute for experienced, wise and calm leadership,” said John Murabito, chair of the board. “Augustana has seen many crises over its history. And due to strong leaders who have worked closely in support of our mission with faculty, administration, staff and the community, our college has not simply survived those crises, but thrived.

"Under Steve’s extremely able leadership, I have no doubt that will be the case once again. This extension ensures a consistent approach and strategy during and through the challenging times we now face.”

Augustana recently launched the week-long Augie Strong campaign to help meet financial hardships created by COVID-19, including $4 million in room and board refunds, loss of revenue from Summer Academy and campus summer event rentals, and extra spending to help equip students for distance learning last spring and a return to campus this fall. 

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful team at Augustana to continue to keep Augustana strong during these important times,” said President Bahls. “This world needs, now more than ever, college graduates focused on creative problem-solving and building better and more inclusive communities. I am fortunate that my calling in life has been to serve in higher education.”

Steve Bahls is Augustana’s eighth president and has been with the college since 2003. He is the fifth-longest serving president since Gustav Andreen, who served for 35 years from 1901-1935.

Augustana is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). President Bahls has served the third longest among presidents of the 26 ELCA colleges.

The tenure of college presidents is getting shorter. According to a 2017 survey conducted every five years by the American Council on Education, the average tenure for college leaders was 6.5 years in 2016, down from 8.5 years a decade before. 

President Bahls received an undergraduate degree from University of Iowa and graduated with a juris doctor from Northwestern University School of Law. Before coming to Augustana, he served as a dean at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. 

Contact:

Kirby Stockwell, 630-201-9080

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