The office of Steve Bahls, the new president of Augustana College, is filled with images of Themis, the goddess of Justice. That's no surprise, because Bahls came to Augustana after nine years as dean of the Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.
At the end of an interview last week, Bahls showed off one particular image: a print of Justice by Pieter Bruegel the Elder from the 16th Century. In it, Themis - blindfolded and holding her scales - is surrounded by all manner of bad behavior, including torture. "She has no idea what's going on," he said of Themis.
Bahls wants to ensure that the same can't be said of Augustana College, the private Lutheran liberal-arts college in Rock Island. The new president, who replaced retiring President Thomas Tredway on July 1, is committed to making Augustana College, its faculty, and its 2,200 students active participants and leaders in the community. There will be no Augustana ivory tower on his watch.
Bahls' tenure at the Capital University law school, also a Lutheran institution, suggests that he'll stay true to that vision.