Barbara Glasrud

Barbara Glasrud, 1984Barbara Glasrud (née Crawford), taught art history at Concordia College for over three decades.  During her time at the college, she shared her enthusiasm for art and culture with many students and was instrumental in building the art program at Concordia. [1]

Glasrud was born in Redwing, Minnesota in 1923. She attended high school in Lake City where she took a freshman English class taught by the man who would become her husband, Clarence Glasrud.  After high school she pursued her interest in art by enrolling in Carleton College’s museum curatorship program. Following her graduation in 1944, Glasrud worked at the Minneapolis Museum of Art briefly before continuing her studies.  She received a Master’s degree in Oriental Art History from Bryn Mawr in 1947. [2]

Upon completing her graduate courses Glasrud accepted a marriage proposal from Clarence “Soc” Glasrud and the couple wed on June 19, 1948. They briefly lived in Moorhead, but soon after moved to Massachusetts so that Soc could continue his graduate studies at Harvard. While there, Barbara Glasrud took a job as Assistant Curator of Oriental Art at the Harvard Fogg Museum. [3] In 1952, after Soc finished his graduate studies, the Glasruds moved back to Moorhead. On July 27, 1955 their only child, Charles, was born. From his birth until Charles was old enough to enter kindergarten, Barbara Glasrud was not employed outside the home. In 1961, after Charles started school, the chair of Concordia’s art department approached Glasrud about being a guest lecturer. She refused the invitation multiple times, later commenting, “the one thing I was sure of in college was that I did not want to teach.” [4]  With enough persistent requests, however, she eventually accepted the offer and this is when her employment at Concordia College began.

Glasrud taught classes at Concordia periodically beginning in 1961 until she was offered a position as a part-time instructor. [5] From there she quickly moved to full-time employment and was named chair of the art department in 1976.  This was an impressive achievement.  A national 1974 study found that just twenty-one percent of studio art and art history faculty members were women. [6] She managed to add four art history classes to Concordia’s curriculum during her time at the college, all of which she taught. [7] Students in every major took her classes and talked about how Dr. Glasrud brought art alive for them. [8] Glasrud came to love teaching, and especially travelling with students. She led almost every one of the art department’s May Seminars during her time as a member of Concordia’s faculty. [9] She took students all over Europe, showing them the original pieces of art she talked about in her lectures. Her first tour went to Italy in 1967. [10] She believed the goal of these seminars was to instill in her students not just a love of art, but also a love of culture and travel. Her success in achieving this goal is evidenced by the many postcards she received from past students from all over the world.

In her early years of teaching at Concordia, Glasrud did not have a set place to teach her classes, or even a real office. She shared a tiny office with the other members of the art department and, until she complained, did not even have her own desk. [11] Despite this lack of resources, Glasrud impressed her students and colleagues so much that she was presented with the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship Award in 1985. [12] The award was established in 1962 and Glasrud was the first female in the College’s history to receive it. [13]

When the Olin Art and Communications Center was completed in 1986, Glasrud finally  had a permanent place to teach.   At times, however, she was still required to hold class in the theatre when enrollment reached upward of one hundred students. [14] In addition to teaching her own courses, she often guest lectured in the classes of her colleagues.  Barbara Glasrud truly had a passion for her subject and a knack for instilling that passion in her students. [15]

Authors: Chloe Bakkum and Layne Cole

[1] Trinity Gallery, “Barbara Crawford Glasrud,” Glasrud, Barbara, Biography Files Collection, Concordia College Archives.
[2] She's Now Art Department Chairman at Concordia,” [1976 Newspaper article about Barbara Glasrud, Moorhead,] Glasrud, Barbara, Biography Files Collection, Concordia College Archives.
Melva Moline, "In and Out of Classroom, They've Stimulated Thousands," Pride, 1986-1987, 13.
She's Now Art Department Chairman at Concordia.”
[5] Barbara Glasrud, "Concordia Oral History," interview by Carroll Engelhardt, Concordia College [Moorhead, MN],  Oct. 21, 2008, Concordia College Archives.
Dixie Glenn and Anna Sherman, “The status of women art education faculty in higher education,” Studies in Art Education 24, no. 3 (1983): 184.
[7] Leanne Wolf, "Close-Up: Barbara Glasrud," Concordian (Moorhead, MN), Nov. 9, 1979, 12.
Barbara Glasrud, "Concordia Oral History."
Concordia May Seminars are month long study-away opportunities led by Concordia faculty available to students for credit.   
Leanne Wolf, "Close-Up: Barbara Glasrud," Concordian (Moorhead, MN), Nov. 9, 1979, 12.   
[11] Barbara Glasrud, "Concordia Oral History."
[12] Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship,” 1985, Glasrud, Barbara, Biography Files Collection, Concordia College Archives.
Sonia Bitz, “Concordia Distinguishes Faculty Member with Award,” Concordian (Moorhead, MN), Sept. 29, 1995, 5; Ron Pollworth. "Three Concordia College Professors Receive Awards." Aug. 1985. Glasrud, Barbara. Biography Files Collection. Concordia College Archives and Barbara Glasrud, "Concordia Oral History."
Barbara Glasrud, "Concordia Oral History."