The Rev. Kathryn Kleinhans, professor of Religion at Wartburg, has been named dean of newly established Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Ohio.
Kleinhans was the first woman hired to teach religion full time at Wartburg in 1993. She is also pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has served as the McCoy Family Chair since 2013.
“I can’t imagine a better place to have been for the last 24 1/2 years than Wartburg College,” Kleinhans said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with colleagues from many disciplines and to teach and mentor students pursuing many vocations.”
Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University will begin operations on Jan. 1 under Kleinhans’ leadership.
Like Wartburg, Capital and Trinity are schools affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Kleinhans, who also chaired Wartburg’s Department of Religion and Philosophy from 1999 to 2010, said her experience in the undergraduate context at Wartburg will allow her to guide Trinity Lutheran Seminary as it becomes part of Capital University.
She said that as she prepares to take her new position, she knows Wartburg’s mission will remain dear to her heart.
Kleinhans has been an appreciated colleague and mentor during her time at Wartburg, Rev. Brian Beckstrom said.
“I’m very happy for her, but also sad for Wartburg,” Beckstrom said. “Dr. Kleinhans has been such an important voice on campus and it is always hard to lose someone with her perspective and experience,”
Her love for the church and its mission, he said, will be a blessing to Capital University.
Kristen Wendland, professor of religion, was Kleinhans’s student at Wartburg back in the late 90’s.
Wendland said Kleinhans was a great professor who always cared about guiding her and her classmates to understand the calling of God in their lives.
Wendland feels grateful for having Kleinhans as a colleague for her first year as a professor at Wartburg and she is happy for the opportunity Kleinhans has received at Capital University.
“She will be such a good dean at that school. I am so sad for Wartburg. We are losing a good teacher and person who carries the mission and the thought of this place,” Wendland said.
Rebecca Bennett, religion major and Kleinhans’ advisee, said she feels this is a bitter-sweet news.
“I’m sad because I think she brings a lot of light and life to campus, but I think it’s good that she is going onto this new position. I think that she’ll bring a lot of the same love for students and love for teaching to the new place she is going,” Bennett said.
Wartburg President Darrel Colson said he feels happy for the opportunity Kleinhans has been given at Trinity and he believes it will be a good next step in her career.
“We will miss her very much at Wartburg but could not be prouder of her success,” Colson said.