2012 Carthage Flame Award Recipient
James Unglaube, ’63, Carthage’s vice president emeritus for college relations and director of planned giving, received the 24th Carthage Flame during Commencement in 2012.
Mr. Unglaube is a Milwaukee native who has spent more than four decades serving the cause of Lutheran higher education, an association that began when Mr. Unglaube and his wife, LaRue (Rhine) Unglaube, ’64, attended the College in its final years in Illinois. They met “over a bucket of mashed potatoes” when both worked in the dining hall kitchen. In 1962, he helped open the Kenosha campus and was the first person to spend a night here, in the new Joseph Johnson residence hall.
His career was built on integrity and an authentic devotion to Carthage and his Lutheran faith. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry at the University of Iowa, Mr. Unglaube began his career at Lenoir-Rhyne College, and soon became academic dean. In 1977, he joined the Lutheran Church in America’s department for higher education at the LCA’s New York headquarters. He served as director of that department from 1982 to 1987, working with 18 colleges.
After the LCA merged into the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mr. Unglaube served for a decade as ELCA’s first director for colleges and universities.
In 1998, Mr. Unglaube returned to Carthage. The College’s then vice president of development, Kent Henning, said that “Jim is one of the most knowledgeable people in the country regarding Lutheran higher education.”
As vice president for college relations, Mr. Unglaube was instrumental in funding the most impressive decade of growth in the history of the College, as Carthage invested $130 million in improvements to the physical plant while the faculty grew in size and stature.
Mr. Unglaube was honored by Carthage with a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1980, and received an honorary doctorate from the College in 1985. He also has received honorary degrees from Midland Lutheran College and Upsala College.
Mr. Unglaube says his “most fulfilling” accomplishment was an educational partnership developed between the LCA, the American Lutheran Church (ALC), then the ELCA, with the Lutheran church bodies in what would become the African nation of Namibia.
“A colleague and Carthage trustee, Naomi Linnell, and I worked with the Lutheran colleges in the U.S. to provide full scholarships for 100 students,” he has written. The program ran from 1986-1995. Two decades later these former students are back home in leadership roles in their independent nation of Namibia.”
The Unglaubes now live in Minneapolis, close to their children, Carla Erickson and Andrew Unglaube, and six grandchildren.