After 19 years of serving University of Northwestern, Dean Paulson, director of Campus Ministries, said his final “welcome to chapel” in Maranatha Hall. In his farewell chapel message on Tuesday, Sept. 7, Paulson shared how he hoped to be remembered. “Remember that I glorified God by exalting Christ,” he said. “It hasn’t been about exalting Dean Paulson for 19 years.”
Paulson announced in June that he had accepted the senior pastor position at Kost Evangelical Church in North Branch, Minn., after serving as interim pastor there since October 2009. Paulson felt God calling him to be a pastor because of his love for the work and the joy he finds in it.
“The church, the local gathering of believers, by God’s design is His agent to reach the world for Christ,” he said. “I am looking forward to being back on the front lines. But,” he added, “I do miss the students.”
Janae Stynsberg ’13 said of Paulson’s role, “It’s a huge spot to fill because he did so much for our chapels, for the students and as a professor.”
Students described Paulson as “caring,” “passionate,” “honest” and “dedicated.” A common theme among those reflecting on Paulson’s time at Northwestern is his engagement with students. “He went out of his way to reach out to students,” said Ryan Christiansen ’11.
Students also remember Paulson for his sense of humor. In his last chapel, Paulson joked, “When students ask me who they should marry, I tell them, but no one ever listens.”
Christiansen recalled that Paulson “always had a big smile on his face, and it was contagious when he started laughing.”
Paulson’s career at Northwestern included a number of positions. He became a discipleship coordinator in 1991 and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies in 1996 and later took on the role of director of Campus Ministries, which included coordinating and overseeing daily chapel. One of Paulson’s proudest achievements is starting praise chapel.
Paulson’s desire was to be an integral part in students’ lives, and hopes his legacy is “that students left Northwestern reflecting more of the image of Christ in their lives than when they started and that I got to be a little part of the process.”
Aaron Hagstrom ’11 contributed to this article.