Darrel Colson, Ph.D.

Darrel Colson, Ph.D., joined Myers McRae as a Senior Consultant in 2023. Dr. Colson retired as President of Wartburg College in 2022, after 13 years of distinguished service. He has extensive leadership experience in higher education, vast knowledge of expanding academic programs and growing enrollment, and a successful record in fundraising.

Darrel Colson joined Wartburg College as its 17th president in July 2009. During his tenure at the college, he implemented a transformative strategic plan, raising more than $89 million, including nearly $34 million for scholarships. The campaign allowed the establishment of six endowed chairs and professorships, the construction of the Knief Outdoor Athletics Pavilion, and the renovation of Clinton Hall into the McCoy Living and Learning Center. In the final stretch of the strategic plan, he announced the formation of “Focus on the Future,” a constituent engagement initiative that led to additional faculty and academic opportunities in the engineering program, new and deeper relationships with community partners, and an increased commitment to ensuring that at-risk students have the same opportunities to succeed.

Prior to Wartburg, Dr. Colson served as Provost and Dean of the College at Centenary College of Louisiana. Over his career, he taught at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., and served on the founding faculty of Louisiana Scholars' College, an experimental honors college at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, La. He also held the Fletcher Jones Chair of Great Books at Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif., before becoming a professor of philosophy at Centenary College in 2002.

Dr. Colson earned a B.A. degree in philosophy at LSU and a Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He has served on numerous local, regional, and national boards in higher education, economic development, and healthcare including the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance; Allen Health System; Allen College; Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association; NetVUE Advisory Council, Council of Independent Colleges; the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU), including its Government Relations Committee; and the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU).