Richard L. Torgerson retired from Luther College in 2013 after 14 years of service as President of the institution. He has served in faculty and administrative positions with six residential church-affiliated liberal arts colleges, beginning in 1969 at Wartburg College as Assistant Professor of Biology. From 1972 to 1982 he taught biology and for two years served as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Texas Lutheran University. For three years he was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at Baker University before returning to Lutheran higher education when he accepted the post of Vice President and Academic Dean at Bethany College (KS), serving for seven years. Dr. Torgerson returned to Wartburg College in 1992 where he served as Vice President for Development for six years. He then accepted the position of Vice President for Development at Gustavus Adolphus College. In 1999, he became the ninth President of Luther College.
During his 14 years as Luther’s president the endowment tripled to more than $130 million. He led two comprehensive strategic planning initiatives which framed three fundraising campaigns securing in excess of $215 million. Three major academic building projects were completed and all residence halls refurbished. As an early signatory of the College and University President’s Climate Commitment he positioned Luther as a leader in campus operational efficiency and carbon footprint reduction. He has been a frequent lecturer and presenter on topics related to higher education leadership, fundraising, board of trustee assessment and development, strategic planning, learning assessment, and campus environmental sustainability initiatives.
Dr. Torgerson is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including an outstanding faculty award at Texas Lutheran University, the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Deans Award, and a Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater, Concordia College (Moorhead, MN). Recently he was awarded the Norwegian Royal Order of Merit by the King of Norway.
Dr. Torgerson earned his Bachelor of Science in biology and physical education at Concordia College. His completed his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in entomology from Washington State University. Dr. Torgerson also completed the college management program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.