Presidents Who Served Through the Years

Incoming Augustana University president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin


Learn more about the 23 individuals who have served Augustana since 1860:

1860-1863: Rev. Lars Esbjorn was the first president when Augustana Seminary opened in Chicago on Sept. 1, 1860.

1863-1869: Rev. Tuve N. Hasselquist, the second president, convinced the church that the College should be moved to Paxton, Illinois to take advantage of a land offer by the Illinois Central Railroad.

1869-1870: Rev. August Weenaas served only one year as the school's third president in Marshall, Wisconsin, leaving with his seminary students. He eventually became the first president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1870-1876: John J. Anderson was actually the principal of Marshall Academy but has historically been considered the fourth president.

1876-1884: Rev. David Lysnes was the fifth president who served in Marshall, Wisconsin and then in Beloit, Iowa.

1884-1889: Professor Matthew D. Miller was the sixth president of the school when it moved to Canton, South Dakota.

1889-1890: Rev. Christian S. Salvesen served as the seventh president for only one year.

1890-1916: Anthony Tuve became the eighth president of the College at age 26. He served for 26 years, the longest of any president.

1916-1918: Dr. Paul M. Glasoe assumed the presidency during the last two years in Canton as the College’s ninth. Prior to his arrival, he served as professor of chemistry at St. Olaf College. He had also served several years as president of Spokane College in Washington.

1918-1920: Professor Hans S. Hilleboe served as the 10th president during the College's first two years in Sioux Falls. During the 1917-18 academic year, he was president of the Lutheran Normal School.

1920-1928: Rev. Dr. Charles Orin Solberg was the 11th president. Before he came to Augustana, Rev. Solberg was president of the English Association of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.

1928-1929: Rev. Dr. H. J. Glenn was on the Board of Directors of the Colllege and agreed to serve as the 12th president for only one year. He then returned to his previous position as pastor of First Lutheran Church in downtown Sioux Falls.

1929-1932: Rev. Dr. Ove J. H. Preus was president No. 13. Prior to Augustana, he served as president of the Eastern District of the Norwegian Lutheran Church.

1932-1943: Rev. Dr. Clemens Granskou was Augustana's 14th president, having previously served in the same capacity at Waldorf Junior College in Forest City, Iowa.

1943-1965: Rev. Dr. Lawrence Stavig was the 15th president. Prior to Augustana, he served as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota.

1965-1980: Dr. Charles Balcer served as the College's 16th president. He came to the College from St. Cloud State University where he was Dean of Academic Administration.

1980-1986: Dr. Bill Nelsen was the College's 17th president. Dr. Nelsen came to Augustana from St. Olaf College where he was Vice President and Dean of the College.

1986-1987: Dr. Sidney Rand served as the College's 18th president and returned as the 20th during 1991-1992. Dr. Rand was president emeritus of St. Olaf College prior to his stints with Augustana.

1987-1992: Dr. Lloyd Svendsbye was the 19th president of the College. Prior to Augustana, Dr. Svendsbye was president of Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1993-2000: Dr. Ralph Wagoner was the College's 21st president. Before Augustana, Wagoner was president of Western Illinois University for six years.

2000-2006: Dr. Bruce Halverson '66, was the College's 22nd president and the only alumnus to serve in this capacity. He came to Augustana from Florida State University where he was Dean of the School of Theatre.

2006-2017: Rob Oliver was Augustana's 23rd president, was the chair of the Business Department for two years and, before that, was a regional president with Wells Fargo.

2017-present: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is Augustana's 24th president. Before becoming Augustana's first female president, Herseth Sandlin was general counsel and vice president of corporate development for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls. Prior to that, she served as South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative from 2004-11.