It is with deep sadness that Augsburg College mourns the passing of Myles Stenshoel, professor emeritus of political science. He died at the age of 86 at home surrounded by his family. Professor Stenshoel came to Augsburg in 1965 to establish a political science department, which he did the following year, with the addition of Professor Norma Noonan. He taught for 21 years, phased into retirement, and continued teaching part time in retirement.
After graduating from Concordia College, Moorhead, and Concordia Theological Seminary, he was ordained and served small churches in Colorado. But it was not long before he felt a stronger call to teach. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado and returned to the Midwest to teach at Augustana College in Sioux Falls.
Self-described as a “conservative radical,” Myles felt a deep commitment to a Christianity that focuses on and needs both individual commitment and social action, and this is exemplified in the department he led. Politics and religion were his primary intellectual interests, and at several times he seriously considered elected public office. He served on committees and task forces that examined church-state issues and Lutheran higher education. His interests were varied and he enjoyed leading what he called “an integrated life.”
As longtime pre-law adviser to students, he was especially proud of the number of women he encouraged to pursue careers in law when that was not yet common. In the early 1970s, he also served on a College ad hoc committee that researched the status of women faculty at Augsburg, which helped foster improvement. He was an esteemed faculty colleague, and remained active in teaching and learning at Augsburg, always attending Political Science Department and College events during retirement. He is pictured here with Shonna Fulford ’09, recipient of the Myles Stenshoel Scholarship.
Myles and Eunice, his wife of more than 50 years, have four children: Peter, David, Marit–all of whom attended Augsburg–and Eric. Together as a family, they have written a number of histories of their Norwegian families, an activity that Myles looked forward to in his retirement.
A funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6 at Gethsemene Lutheran Church, 715 Minnetonka Mills Road, Hopkins, Minnesota. Please keep the Stenshoel family and friends in your prayers during this sad time. Myles leaves a deep legacy in the history of Augsburg.