LaHurd Resigns as President of ELCA Lenoir-Rhyne College

4/5/2002 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Dr. Ryan A. LaHurd, president of Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C., will resign as president of the college effective May 31.  Lenoir-Rhyne is one of 28 colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
     "It has been a great privilege for me to serve Lenoir-Rhyne College as president for eight years," LaHurd said.  "I believe I have shown my appreciation for the trust placed in me by being totally committed to doing whatever I could for the benefit of Lenoir-Rhyne.  My wife Carol and I have worked pretty much non-stop for [the college]  ... and have enjoyed our work."
     LaHurd will become executive director of the Near East Foundation, New York.  The foundation is a private, non-profit, development agency established in 1915 to help people in Africa and the Middle East build better lives for themselves and their communities.
     "The opportunity that has been presented to me to become executive director of the Near East Foundation ... is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," LaHurd said.  "The two passions of my professional life have been church-related higher education and involvement with international issues, especially in the Middle East.  My nearly 30 years of service in colleges of the church has responded to the first.  This new position gives me the opportunity to move into the second on a more full-time basis."
     LaHurd became the 10th president of Lenoir-Rhyne in 1994.  From 1985 to 1994 he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean at Augsburg College, Minneapolis.  LaHurd taught English and was chair of the English, Speech and Theater Arts department at Thiel College, Greenville, Pa., from 1977 to 1985.  Augsburg and Thiel are colleges of the ELCA.   From 1973 to 1977, LaHurd was assistant professor of English and chair of the English department at Allentown College, Center Valley, Pa.
     LaHurd received his bachelor of arts degree from Mt. Carmel College, Ontario, in 1968.  He earned a master of arts degree in English and literature at the University of Chicago in 1969.  In 1973, LaHurd received a doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He received the Beach Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship there, and he was inducted into the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Honorary Organization.  LaHurd undertook his post-doctoral study in educational administration at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 1983.
     Throughout his professional career, LaHurd has been a writer and frequent speaker on issues related to politics, history and culture of the Middle East.  He received a Fulbright Senior Fellowship to teach and conduct research at the University of Sana'a in Yemen from 1992 to 1993, a Fulbright project for educational administrators in international education to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1989, and a Fulbright Senior Lectureship at the University of Damascus in Syria from 1981 to 1982.
     LaHurd was a member of the ELCA Division for Higher Education and Schools board and North Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities board.  He served as president of the ELCA Association of Lutherans of Arab and Middle Eastern Heritage.
     LaHurd and his wife Carol are members of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church,  Hickory, N.C.  Carol has a doctorate in religious studies and serves as visiting associate professor of religion at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.  They have two adult children; both reside in Chicago.
     "It is with profound regret that the Board of Trustees accepts Dr. LaHurd's resignation, as he has provided outstanding leadership and initiated many positive changes for Lenoir-Rhyne College," said John David Moose, board chair.  The board "wishes him well in this next step in his fine career and appreciate the vision and intelligence he has brought to his role as president," he said. -- -- --
     [**Marcia Johnston is director of public relations and development at Lenoir-Rhyne College.]

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