We have had the priveledge of talking with President Thomforde over the few years that we have been here, as we are sure many of us have. Indeed, President Thomforde is no less than the friendliest person on this campus. He says hello to anyone and everyone as he walks about and is always smiling, which is more than many of us can manage. For that alone he will be missed.
But to think that President Thomfordes legacy stops there would be to miss the bulk of his work here at St. Olaf. From talking with him and watching him over the last three years, we know that few will ever love this school as much as President Thomforde. While here, President Thomforde has dedicated time to increasing diversity at St. Olaf, increasing the endowment that will benefit all St. Olaf students in the future, has shown nothing but dedication to the religious mission of the Lutheran Church through all his actions, and so much more.
The sale of the WCAL radio station was a hard decision for the St. Olaf Board of Regents and President Thomforde, and as the most visible member of that decision, President Thomforde bore the brunt of the criticism. But again, President Thomfordes dedication to St. Olaf leaves us to believe that he, like the Board of Regents, was simply looking to the future of the College. It was a hard decision, but one ultimately done to ensure the future of music and other programs that make St. Olaf unique.
Quite simply, President Thomforde possesses an innate quality of comfort and gentleness that reveals itself in every speech and every action that he has taken on campus. His work behind the scenes at St. Olaf was just that, but his persona and public image permeated every facet of our school, bringing a little six-foot-seven-inch joy into each of our long work days.
A prime example of this adoration is the Facebook club Shorter than President Thomforde, which is dedicated to students love of the President and his noteworthy height. Granted, not all of us have had the opportunity to speak with him directly, but they still have been impressed by his cadence and presence.
President-elect David Anderson has a tough act to follow. President Thomfordes dedication to this school is something that only comes from a true lover of education in the Lutheran tradition, and it will be sorely missed. No doubt President Thomforde will bring the same dedication to Moravian College next year as he begins his life there.
And we send him with our best wishes and a thank you.