Insuring a Future for Our Lutheran Heritage
Named for a beloved pastor and teacher and his wife, both strong advocates of Cal Lutheran, this first of CLU's endowed chairs insures that Lutheran scholarship and heritage will remain strong and relevant at the University. Made possible through the generosity of the friends, family and colleagues of the late Rev. Dr. Gerhard L. Belgum and his wife Olga J. Belgum, it is held by a professor who furthers the Lutheran heritage and its place in the life of the University through scholarship and teaching. As an active ambassador, the professor also maintains the University's strong bond with the church community.
The first permanent holder of the Gerhard and Olga J. Belgum Chair is church historian Dr. R. Guy Erwin. A specialist on the theology of Martin Luther and active in 17th and 18th century Lutheran studies, he came to Cal Lutheran from the Yale Divinity School in 2000. Educated at Harvard and Yale, Dr. Erwin served as lecturer on the history of Christianity and historical theology and principal instructor in the Lutheran Studies Program at Yale Divinity School. He has done graduate study in Germany at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen and at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig, and has taught extensively on Reformation history and the theology of Martin Luther and the Lutheran tradition. Erwin is a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Osage tribe of American Indians.
True to Their Lutheran Heritage
The late Rev. Dr. Gerhard L. Belgum and his wife Olga, who still lives in Thousand Oaks, reflect lives lived in faithfulness to their Lutheran heritage and in service to God.
After serving many congregations as pastor and Luther College as professor, Pastor Belgum directed Cal Lutheran's Center for Theological Study. Active in strengthening the Lutheran tradition in the Southwest, he organized continuing education programs for clergy in this burgeoning region. With a passion for scholarship and the teachings of the Gospel, he was a good and faithful servant of the American Lutheran Church until his death in 1979.
Throughout his career Gerhard had the companionship of his wife Olga who faithfully encouraged his work, even as she sewed her own seeds of faith. At Cal Lutheran, Olga served in the president's office where her dignity, compassion and true desire to serve helped foster the Lutheran connection through the daily activities of campus life.