R. Judson Carlberg, Seventh President of Gordon College, at 74
R. Judson Carlberg, who served Gordon College for 35 years, including nearly 20 years as its president, has died. Surrounded by loved ones, he passed away early Thursday morning, November 20, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Massachusetts, after a battle with cancer.
He began his career at Gordon in 1976 as dean of faculty. From 1990 to 1992 he served as senior vice president for development, and in 1992 he was inaugurated as Gordon’s seventh president. He retired in June 2011.
“Jud Carlberg was a giant in the field of Christian higher education,” said Gordon President Michael Lindsay, who succeeded Carlberg in 2011. “He also had a formidable influence within the wider academy, earning the respect of scholars and administrators around the world. He was not only a great leader for Gordon College, but also a wonderful mentor and friend. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten.”
Dr. Carlberg’s substantial legacy at Gordon includes transformative growth of its physical campus, coupled with equally transformative growth in faculty appointments, programs, and cultural engagement. In myriad ways, his leadership helped shape an expansive vision of Christian vocation in a pluralistic, rapidly changing world.
“Jud genuinely reflected the institution he led,” said Stan Gaede, Gordon College scholar-in-residence and longtime friend. “Like the College, he kept growing and learning—not in spite of what he believed but because of it. Like the College, Jud was more interested in living the core of the Gospel than straining at gnats. In his leading Jud was always a learner.”
His passion for higher education extended well beyond Gordon College. He held leadership roles on the boards of the BioLogos Foundation, Denver Seminary, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, and The Council of Independent Colleges.
Dr. Carlberg is survived by his wife of 51 years, Janice (Jensen); their daughter, Heather Carlberg Willis, and son-in-law Matthew Willis; their son, Chad, and daughter-in-law Kristina Harter Carlberg; grandchildren Lily, Luke and Basil Willis and Maggie and Kate Carlberg; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, the Rev. Robert and Helen Carlberg, and in 2007 by a sister, Beth Carlberg Abts.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. Updated information will be posted on the a memorial website.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a gift to the R. Judson Carlberg Scholarship in Global Education: www.gordon.edu/carlbergscholarship .