Harold Dietrich (2020-2021)
Harold Dietrich (2020-2021)
Harold Dietrich arrived at Luther College in the Fall of 1944, reporting for Grade 9, well-dressed in a suit, shirt, and tie. There was a World War going on, but better times were ahead, and Harold was ready to contribute. He completed Grade 12 in 1948 and took his first year of university at Luther before heading to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). He graduated with a law degree at the age of 21, the youngest person to ever do so at the U of S, and a B.A. at the same time.
Upon graduation, Harold returned to Regina to practice law and around 1955, he met “the one” - Joyce Johnson. Together they had four children: John born in 1959, followed by Roseanne, Norma, and Bob.
Harold joined the Luther College Board of Regents in 1957 and within a couple years became Chair, a position he held for 25 years! A young family, a growing law practice, Chair of the Board of Regents – you would think his days were full. But Harold was also on church council, the YMCA Board, and for a time, Regina city council.
These were exciting times: the gym (now the Merlis Belsher Heritage Centre) and the “NEW” Classroom Wing including chemistry and biology labs and an astronomy observatory was built, enrollment continued to grow, and the Luther Invitational Tournament (better known as L.I.T.) was established.
In 1964, Luther College was invited to expand its university offerings by partnering in the new University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus in southeast Regina. This was a profound step; one that affected every aspect of the Luther community: everything from an Act of the provincial legislature to create Luther as a distinct corporate entity, to what does “federation” mean, to how will this affect the organizational culture, what will it mean for enrollment, where will we get faculty, how will it be funded; and Harold was in the thick of it all. In 1971, Luther’s University campus opened its doors thanks to the leadership and dedication of Harold.
Harold accepted another challenge in 1973: to become the first President/CEO of Lutheran Life in Waterloo, Ontario. To some, moving to another province might seem a good time to step down from Luther’s Board but Harold stayed on for another 12 years until 1985 following 27 years of service.
Harold “retired” from Lutheran Life (now Faith Life Financial) in 1990 but remained a Director of the company and finally took some time to enjoy some hobbies – amateur radio, radio-controlled airplanes, and restoring vintage cars; however, Harold and Joyce never forgot about Luther and continued to financially support the College over the years including establishing a scholarship at the High School campus in memory of their son John. Harold passed away in 2005 following a brief illness.