Former President Edward Lindell Dies at 89

Dr. Edward A. Lindell, who served as Gustavus president from 1975-1980, will be remembered for his financial acumen and strong faith.
Posted on December 18th, 2017 by

Edward and Patty Lindell

When he applied to be the President of Gustavus Adolphus College, Dr. Edward Lindell, then a professor in the School of Education at the University of Denver, wrote:

“A liberal arts college, in order to be true to itself, must strive for academic excellence. There is no substitute for this. I am convinced that the liberal arts college is one of the few remaining forces for constructive and liberating change in our society. In pursuit of its mission, it must not only seek balance and excellence but always strive in an exemplary way for some distinction.”

Dr. Lindell, who served as president from 1975-1980, led Gustavus through a pivotal period in the College’s history. After several new buildings were added to the campus throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Lindell stepped into office and immediately made it his goal to grow fundraising and place Gustavus on solid financial footing while continuing to support and enhance the College’s rigorous academic curriculum.

Dr. Edward A. Lindell

Known for his sound financial decision making and being a tireless fundraiser, Lindell delayed his own inauguration for several months so it could take place during a previously scheduled meeting of the Minnesota Synod. By the end of his presidency, the College’s endowment had grown three-fold, leaving Gustavus well-equipped to continue to serve students into the future. But his legacy at Gustavus goes beyond the College’s finances – he counted strengthening the institution’s relationships with the Church and with Sweden among his proudest accomplishments.

After leaving Gustavus in 1980, Lindell served in a variety of senior leadership roles at the Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent Financial) and was a member of boards including the international Habitat for Humanity, the Nobel Foundation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and for several colleges and universities. The grandson of Swedish immigrants, he also worked with the Swedish Council of America and American Swedish Institute. He received the Swedish Order of the Polar Star, Knight First Class, from the King of Sweden His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, in 1976.

Dr. Edward Lindell, born on November 30, 1928 in Denver, Colorado, passed away on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the age of 89.

“Our deep sympathies are with the Lindell family,” President Rebecca Bergman said in an announcement to members of the Gustavus community. “We remember Ed fondly for his deep devotion to Gustavus and share our sincere gratitude for his faithful stewardship of the College.”

Lindell will be remembered for his quick wit, deep faith, and lifelong commitment to service. He was a dynamic fundraising partner with his wife, Patty, who co-founded the Gustavus Library Associates in 1977. Now in its 41st year, the organization boasts over 200 members and has built an endowment nearing $3 million for the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. Ed and Patty remained loyal Gusties long after retirement, regularly attending campus events including the annual Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia “Patty” Lindell, sons Paul and Erik, and five grandchildren. A visitation will be held on Monday, December 18 from 4-7 p.m. at Benson & Langehough Funeral Home in Northfield, Minn. The funeral will take place at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield on Tuesday, December 19 at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior to the service. A full obituary is available online.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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