GREENVILLE, Pa.—Dr. Louis T. Almen, who led Thiel College from 1976 to 1990 as its 15th president died June 3 in Oviedo, Fla. He was 88.
Under Almen’s guidance, Thiel College’s endowment grew from $1.8 million to $12 million, the curriculum added five academic majors and an honors program. Almen’s influence continues today as the former president was instrumental in securing a $25 million gift—the largest in school history—from Bill Dietrich II. That generous donation helped in the creation of the Dietrich Honors Institute at Thiel College, which recently completed its first academic year. Almen’s tenure as president is the second-longest in school history. The only president to serve longer was the school’s first leader The Rev. H.W. Roth, who led the college from 1870 to 1887.
Almen graduated as the valedictorian of his class at Hudson (WI) High School. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) and a Bachelor’s of Divinity from Augustana Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his doctoral degree from the State University of Iowa. He was a faculty member for 14 years at Augustana. He was the Executive Director of the Division for Professional Leadership with the Lutheran Church in America. He held this nationally prominent position until he accepted the Thiel presidency in 1976.
Thiel College president Troy D. VanAken said, “I was profoundly saddened when I learned of President Almen’s passing. During his tenure Dr. Almen’s top goal was Thiel College’s commitment to educational excellence and that commitment can still be seen and felt today at Thiel. Dr. Almen put Thiel College on sturdy footing during a precarious and dark economic time. The entire Thiel College and Greenville communities are the beneficiaries of the vision, hard work, generosity, kindness, diligence of Dr. Almen.”
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