Dille, Dr. Roland Minnesota State University Moorhead's longest serving president (1968-1994), died on May 26, 2014. Dr. Dille was born on September 16, 1924, on a farm near Dassel, Minnesota, attending its public schools. In World War II, he served in the U.S. Army in Europe. He earned a bachelor's in English Literature, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in 20th Century British literature. In 1948, he married Beth Hopeman of Moorhead and in 1949 began his teaching career at Dassel High School. From 1956 to 1961, Dr. Dille taught English at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. From 1961 to 1963, he taught at California Lutheran College, being let go after opposing college administration actions he believed to be unjust. In 1963, Moorhead State College's President John Neumaier hired Dille as an English professor. In 1966, Dr. Dille became Dean of Academic Affairs and in 1968 became its president. His early years as president at MSUM (then Moorhead State College) were tumultuous. Starting while he was Dean and continuing after he assumed the presidency, Dr. Dille and others resolved to work to address national racial issues locally, recruiting Black students and faculty, a decision opposed by a vociferous few. He received threats on the lives of his children and black paint was splattered on his car. After a student fired a gun on campus, Dr. Dille calmed racial hostilities by publically speaking against violence. Anti-War protests reached Moorhead, with professors advising students on draft dodging and William Kunstler urging Moorhead's students to burn the campus down. After the Kent tState shootings, Dr. Dille told State police -- poised to stop an expected demonstration -- to stay off campus, averting violence. Dille came to oppose the war, testifying in support of conscientious objectors, including the most strident campus radicals, future Minneapolis City Council Member Brian Coyle among them. Roland Dille co-founded Tri-College University to expand course options for area students and created the New Center for students with unrealized potential. During his tenure, MSUM's enrollment more than doubled, adding five new buildings, expanding the library, and acquiring land for future expansion. President Carter appointed Dr. Dille to the National Council for the Humanities. Dille was elected President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and served as Acting Chancellor of the Minnesota State University System. In 1989, he was named one of the nation's 100 most effective college presidents. After retirement, he was named President Emeritus of MSUM and to the Honorary Council of the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Humanities Commission established the Roland Dille Award for Distinguished Service and MSUM named the Roland Dille Center for the Arts after him. The Roland and Beth Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award and the Dille Fund for Excellence were named in his honor. In retirement he remained in demand as a public speaker and continuing to write on a variety of topics, including local history. A temporary exhibit, "Roland Dille and the Dassel Story," has just opened at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum. Roland is preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Eleanor Dille and his brother, Donald. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Beth (Hopeman); by his children, Deborah, Martha, Sarah, and Benjamin; ten grandchildren; one great grandchild; and by his sister Elaine Nygren, Edina, MN. Funeral will held on Saturday, May 31 at 2:00 P.M. at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead, with visitation one hour before the service. Visitation will also be on Friday, from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M., with a time of sharing at 7:00 P.M., in The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Moorhead, MN. Interment will be in the Prairie Home Cemetery, Moor- head, MN. Following the interment a reception will be held in the Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom at M.S.U.M. from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Dr. Dille's name to the Dille Fund for Excellence, to the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (www. hcscconline.org/), or the Dassel History Center (dahs@dassel.com). Guestbook: wrightfuneral.com

Published on May 29, 2014


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