Giants of campus, Bies and Meyer, retiring


With a combined 42 years of experience, Dean of Students Jim Bies and Vice President for Finance and Administration Tom Meyer both announced their retirements last week on April 27.

Bies, who has served as dean of students since 1986, said he has been thinking of retiring for a while, but now just seemed like the right time with all the new changes on campus.

“I have been the dean of students for 32 years, nonstop,” Bies said. “And I have been a dean for almost 40 years. This is really an exciting time on our campus—new president, new academic dean. And, in my view, when everyone loads up on the train, there is no hopping off until you get to the next stop, and that next stop might be three or four years from now. I just do not know if I could make a commitment that far out. I’m no spring chicken.”image5 (1)

Bies said he feels 15 years younger than his actual age and he wants to take advantage of that feeling sooner rather than later.


“Susan, my wife, and I want to do some things,” Bies said. “We have some family and personal things we would regret forever if we did not get a chance to do them, and my life is just so caught up in Augustana that it will be difficult to step away. But I also know I will not be able to find that time again.”

Time for fishing, that is.

“There’s some rainbow trout out in Montana that have my name on them,” Bies said.

Bies said he will officially retire this summer on July 31.

“I wear the title like a badge of honor, but I never thought I would be this old and still be the dean of students,” Bies said.

Tom Meyer, who started in 2007, said he first wedged his foot in Augustana’s door when he worked with former President Rob Oliver at Wells Fargo. When Oliver left the bank for the campus, he tapped Meyer for the open president for finance and administration seat.

He said he felt now was the right time for retirement.


“I have been thinking about it for a while and feeling a bit of a tug,” Meyer said. “It started a bit before Oliver left, but now maybe that is more of a pull now. I want to spend more time with my wife and maybe do some travelling and do some things while we are able to do them. I would say retirement is bittersweet because I love the community. It is melancholy.”

Pittsburgh, to visit his son, and Billings, Mont., for a wedding, are first up on his list of travels. 

He said his favorite things about campus are the people and graduations, especially his son and daughter’s graduations, and he recommended that the next person to fill his role get immersed in the campus community. 

Meyer said he is optimistic about his and Bies’ retirements and the many changes on campus.

“Change can be good,” Meyer said. “I think there will be new ideas with new people. But Augustana will still retain all that is good about it, which is the people and the mission. I have confidence in the future of Augustana.”


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