OLIVIA FOSTER, TRUMPET EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Since announcing his retirement, President Darrel Colson said he has received a lot of support from students, staff and friends of the college.
“A lot of folks have congratulated us and wished us well. And that’s been nice and that’s been gratifying,” said Colson. “It’s really nice to have people be supportive. We’re grateful for that support.”
Colson will retire in June 2022 after 11 years as president of the college. A search has begun for his replacement. The search committee hopes to name a new president during the Spring of 2022.
While looking back at his time, Colson said the power of the student body stands out.
“There’s something about the student body here that is really special,” said Colson. “I’ve worked at, golly, five or six different colleges, universities, and I’ve just never worked with a student body that I like as much or that I have as much respect for.”
One of the fondest memories that Colson has of students at Wartburg was the 2021 senior dinner where four seniors were chosen to speak about what they have learned from their time at Wartburg.
“Each in his or her own way
, articulated the lessons learned during the pandemic year, and the lessons learned were powerful lessons,” said Colson. “They were lessons about resilience and about understanding that we’re not in control of the future. And nonetheless, we can figure out how to thrive in the future that we inherit.”
Another one of Colson’s favorite Wartburg memories didn’t take place in Waverly. It occurred in Eisenach, Germany, at the Wartburg Castle that is the college’s namesake.
“We did this wonderful sort of [student body] presidential swearing in at the great hall in the castle,” said Colson. “That was kind of a cool memory back in the day.”
Other favorite memories from Colson’s time at Wartburg include inviting students to his home, helping with move-in, being involved in service activities, and celebrating Outfly, particularly one where the college was decorated like Hogwarts Castle from the “Harry Potter” series.
As Colson prepares, he looks ahead to the future.
He and his wife, Christy, will move to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they own a home, to be closer to their family, particularly their grandchildren.
“We have four grandchildren that we didn’t have when we arrived [at Wartburg], and we have a great niece and a great nephew that we didn’t have when we arrived,” said Colson. “We can see ways in which we can serve our family, particularly for the younger ones, the little ones.”
Louisiana is where Colson grew up, went to college, and married Christy. Now, it is the place where their family gathers for holidays and important events.
“Shreveport is where everyone returns for events,” said Colson. “We have a nephew in California, we have our sons in Texas, our daughters in Washington D.C., our nieces in Brooklyn, they’re sort of scattered. But Shreveport is kind of the hub of the family.”
When thinking about who will take on the position of Wartburg president next, Colson doesn’t want to limit the horizons of potential candidates.
“I am confident that the person will turn out to have the exact qualities to meet the moment,” said Colson. “I’m open to the possibilities. I’m excited about the future. My plan is to be completely, unreservedly supportive.”
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