MANKATO, MN – Dr. Dan R. Bruss, the ninth president of Bethany Lutheran College, has announced his plan to retire June 30, 2015. Bruss made the public announcement to a campus assembly today. Bruss had formally made his intention known to the College’s Board of Regents at their most recent quarterly meeting in early February 2014.
In his announcement letter to the Board, Bruss stated “When I first took up my duties as president, I had in the back of my mind a goal of ten years of service. That was just over eleven years ago. I believe that now is the proper time to bring my tenure as president to a close so that the College can begin its next chapter… there are junctures in time when various paths converge and I believe this is one of those junctures.”
Dr. Bruss began his presidency on January 1, 2003. Much of his energy during the past decade has been focused on developing the College as a baccalaureate institution. Prior to 2000, Bethany offered exclusively the associate in arts degree and upon Bruss’ arrival only a handful of baccalaureate programs were available. Today there are nineteen programs and Bethany alumni have gone on to compete well at the local, regional, and national levels for jobs and admission into graduate, medical, and professional schools. In addition to academic expansion, a wide variety of programs and infrastructure were built to support the students’ baccalaureate educational experience, including the construction of a sixteen unit apartment complex for junior/senior housing, the move from junior college athletics to NCAA Division III, internship and job placement services, and study abroad initiatives.
Bruss explained to the Board, “The core features of the baccalaureate program are now in place, thanks to the heavy lifting done by Bethany’s faculty and administration. Our people are deeply committed to Bethany’s mission. For them it’s not just a job, but a true commitment.”
Under Bruss’ leadership, Bethany completed the “Faithful Future” $28 million capital campaign exceeding the goal by more than $2 million. Proceeds from the campaign were used, in part, to build a 67,000 square foot multidisciplinary academic building and add more than $5 million to the endowment in support of student scholarships.
Bruss noted that he was particularly pleased with the campaign support of the local community. “We were blessed with significant support from our friends in the community,” he said, “This speaks strongly to the value Mankato sees in the education we provide at Bethany and its positive impact on Greater Mankato. Employers are very pleased with Bethany students as interns and employees. They consistently comment about the skills they bring to the workplace, as well as their work ethic and Christian character.”
During his tenure, Bruss has served on a variety of boards, most recently on the board of Greater Mankato Growth, Southern Minnesota Advocates, and the Minnesota Private College Council, which he currently chairs.
Commenting on the news, Bethany Lutheran College Chair of the Board of Regents, Rev. Herbert Huhnerkoch stated “It has been a distinct pleasure to serve on the Board of Regents during most of the tenure of President Dan Bruss. Though many of us have a deep love and commitment for Bethany Lutheran College and its mission, there is no one with a deeper and more tireless love and commitment than President Bruss. We hate to see him go. Nonetheless, we offer him our heartfelt prayers and sincere desire that God grant him and his dear wife Kathy a blessed retirement.”
When asked what he plans to do in retirement, Bruss replied, “That’s more than a year away. In the meantime I still have a substantial list of things to do at Bethany.”
The Bethany Lutheran College Board of Regents has already begun planning the search process for the next president.
Bethany Lutheran College, founded in 1927, is a four-year, private, Christian liberal arts college owned and operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and located in Mankato, Minnesota. It has maintained a consistent commitment to producing consecrated and intelligent citizens who demonstrate intellectual accomplishments, good judgment and cultural awareness. Above all, the goal of the college has been to provide sound, Christian education focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bethany Lutheran College seeks to be a community of faith and learning.