Seventh President of Luther College (1982-1995)
Hugh George (H. George) Anderson, the seventh president of Luther College, was born on March 10, 1932 in Los Angeles, California. After receiving a B.A. from Yale University and attending the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, he eventually became president of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 1970. In 1956, he married Synnove (Sunny) Hella, who originally came from Bergen, Norway. They had two children.
Anderson is known for being a quiet man with a matter of fact style. The Andersons arrived in Decorah on New Years Eve 1981 and President Anderson began work on January 2nd, 1982. His inauguration was planned for March 26-28 and despite his wife's poor health, the celebration went on as planned. A week after the inauguration Sunny Anderson died after a long battle with cancer. In 1983, he married the former Jutta Fischer Herrmann, who had two young sons.
One of the major challenges Anderson faced during his years at Luther was a decline in the number of high school graduates from the areas where Luther usually drew its students. In response, Anderson worked to overcome the demographic projections by attempting to maintain a stable enrollment of around 2000 students. One of the strategies he employed to accomplish this goal was to enhance Luther’s visibility. He also met this challenge by making it a top priority to increase Luther's endowment.
Anderson's tenure included several significant college developments including the dedication of Jenson Hall of Music in 1982, the creation of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, the building of Farwell Residence Hall in 1988 and the awarding of a grant from the Olin Foundation to build the Olin Building housing the departments of math, computer science and economics and business.
In 1995 H. George Anderson left Luther College after being elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Anderson served as the presiding bishop of the ELCA from October 1995 until October 2001.