Roanoke College

Norman D. Fintel - 1975 to 1989

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When Norm Fintel arrived from the mid-west, he faced a college whose enrollment and funding were dropping. His early years were focused on increasing the size of the student body as well as the endowment. Fintel was successful at both. After the larger applicant pool was achieved, financial aid--once solely need-based--was awarded on a merit scholarship system. As the quality of the student body rose, faculty made certain that academic standards were maintained and then improved. In 1986 the Honors Program was introduced. Faculty numbers also increased, with a higher percentage holding terminal degrees. There was an increased emphasis on faculty professional development.

Fintel and the Resource Development staff’s fundraising efforts were highly productive. The endowment was doubled in the first five years, and took a huge leap forward with its "Sesquicentennial Campaign." With its new "Statement of Partnership," the College once again strengthened ties with the Lutheran Church. The Synod now resides in Bittle Memorial Hall.

Bolstered by fundraising successes, the College initiated major building and expansion programs. Olin Hall, planned under the Kendig administration, was built, and five years later sported a large addition. The Commons received major renovation and became the Sutton Student Center. A huge athletic complex, Bast Center, replaced the aging Alumni Gym. The College acquired the Old Roanoke County Courthouse and the site of the former Elizabeth College. Sections was "saved" by a wholesale refurbishment. The capstone project was the complete overhaul and expansion of the Library, planned in the eighties and opened in 1991. An anonymous donor named the Library after Norm and Jo Fintel.

With the College in better shape financially, there was an increased emphasis on campus beautification. Brick walkways replaced the asphalt, and flowers and shrubs now landscape the grounds. For several years the Fintels lived in the newly acquired house adjacent to campus, now known as the Fowler Alumni House. Its proximity, they felt, brought them in closer touch with the students. When Norm Fintel retired in 1989, he left Roanoke College with a larger and better student body, a stronger faculty, a bigger and much improved physical facility and a significantly healthier endowment.