Dan R. Bruss Ph.D. was the ninth president of Bethany Lutheran College (BLC). An alumnus of BLC (’73), he returned to lead his alma mater in January 2003 and served until June 2015.
Dr. Bruss attended Bethany Lutheran College where he received an associate in arts degree. He went on to earn his bachelor of arts in biology from Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minn.) and a master of arts degree in chemistry from Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato, Minn.). Dr. Bruss earned a doctorate of philosophy in chemistry from Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.). He began his academic career as an instructor at Bethany Lutheran College serving from 1975-1981.
Prior to his Bethany presidency, Dr. Bruss taught for twelve years (1990-2002) at Central College (Pella, Iowa). During this time, Dr. Bruss moved his way through the academic ranks earning the title of full professor. While at Central, he held a variety of leadership roles and was the faculty coordinator for the renovation and expansion of the Vermeer Science Center. He was twice the recipient of the Central College “Outstanding Performance Award for Institutional Service” and was also recognized with the “Huffman Award for Outstanding Support of International Education.” Dr. Bruss was also an assistant professor of chemistry at Albany College of Pharmacy (Albany, New York) from 1985-1990, where he earned the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” award in 1989.
Dr. Bruss successfully combined a teaching career with research and was involved in a number of research projects including work with Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Sterling Drug, Inc. He has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed academic journals. Dr. Bruss successfully authored or co-authored grant proposals that garnered a combined half-million dollars in awards for Albany College of Pharmacy and Central College.
A supporter of community and state initiatives, Dr. Bruss has served as a member of the Greater Mankato Area United Way Executive Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the Southern Minnesota Advocates, and as an Executive Committee Board Member of the Minnesota Private College Council.
A native of Franklin, Wisconsin, Dr. Bruss and his wife Kathy, who is also a graduate of Bethany Lutheran College, are the parents of two grown children. The Bruss’ are ardent proponents for international education and have participated in many international study trips and programs. Kathy is the study abroad coordinator for Bethany Lutheran College: She held a similar position at Central College. The Bruss’ are members of Mount Olive Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Synod) in Mankato. In their spare time, the couple enjoys gardening, biking, and traveling.
Video from the 2015 retirement celebration for Dr. Bruss.