Counted Faithful: Larry Carlson and the Hershbergers

Three of Maranatha’s most faithful and enduring servants will retire this summer. Athletic Facilities Manager Larry Carlson has worked 40 years at the College, Registrar Dr. David Hershberger 38 and Teacher Education Department Associate Professor Barbara Hershberger 33. The Board of Trustees granted faculty emeritus status to the Hershbergers upon their retirement.

These three stories celebrate their accomplishments as we thank them for their devotion to the Lord and Maranatha. We hope you will enjoy reading about them.

Larry Carlson: 40 years

Athletic Facilities Manager Larry Carlson’s primary work responsibilities—setting up folding chairs, ironing uniforms, and maintaining playing fields and gym floors—haven’t exactly helped land him in the spotlight. But whatever the job, Carlson did it for the Lord.

“To me, it’s (my) part in the puzzle, and it takes a lot of people to make a program function,” Carlson said.

After 40 years of helping Maranatha’s program function, Carlson will retire this summer.

“In my house, Larry was always referred to as ‘Faithful Larry,’ ” said Charlotte Cedarholm, a friend of Carlson since 1965. “I don’t know of a more hardworking, selfless, faithful man than Larry.”

Carlson arrived on Maranatha’s campus as a member of the first student body during the 1968-69 academic year. After completing his General Studies degree, he went on to fill multiple positions for the College, including his current job.

“The Lord gave me peace about (staying),” Carlson said.

His job has included setting up and taking down some 750-800 folding chairs every morning for chapel. With a crew of approximately 30 students, this takes only about 40 minutes, he said. Carlson admits to being very particular about how the chairs are configured.

“It’s got to be done right,” he said.

Carlson enjoys being able to build friendships with his student crew members that last long after graduation. “I want them to feel free to talk to me,” he said.

Although they will stay in Watertown, Carlson and wife Linda plan to do a lot of traveling and look forward to more frequent visits with grandchildren. Regular stops will include Naples, FL, to visit their son Mike and his family and Kansas City, MO, to visit their daughter Amy and her family.

Carlson also plans to catch up on projects and have more time for hobbies like landscaping, gardening, and photography. He hopes to go on a missions trip with his wife while continuing to serve at their church.

Athletic Director Rob Thompson said Carlson’s work has been “predominately behind the scenes.”

“Larry Carlson has been a loyal and faithful employee these past 40 years,” Thompson said. “His knowledge of the history, legacy, students, faculty, and staff has been a valuable resource to the Athletic Department. Though Larry is retiring from his work at Maranatha, he will always be a Crusader in heart and spirit.”

Dr. David Hershberger: 38 years

The most pressing item on Dr. David Hershberger’s retirement agenda is what to do first.

“I have a pretty broad range of hobbies,” Maranatha’s veteran Registrar admitted.

Perhaps he’ll build custom furniture. Perhaps he’ll add to his collection of hundreds of history books. Perhaps he’ll write his own book on apologetics or theology. Perhaps he and wife Barbara will bike across Wisconsin. Perhaps he’ll prepare a series of lectures on financial planning for ministries or young adults.

Hershberger hung up his spreadsheet this summer after 38 years at the College, 35 as Registrar. Associate Registrar Steve Carlson has assumed Hershberger’s title.

“He has always been very vocal with his appreciation for the work of those in the office,” Carlson said.

There is plenty to appreciate Hershberger for, especially when one considers the impact of his work on Maranatha’s academic structure.

He came to Watertown as a faculty member in the fall of 1974 and was told that he should become familiar with academic advisement. By the fall of 1977, Hershberger had been named Registrar while retaining a 12-hour teaching load that included Greek, Hebrews, and Pauline Epistles.

“Dr. Cedarholm called me into his office and asked, ‘How would you like another job?’ ” Hershberger recalled. “Then the phone rang, and he left the office for 15 minutes. I thought perhaps what he meant was that I should be looking for another job somewhere else.”

A more serious concern appeared on Hershberger’s horizon in the early 1990s. Maranatha had begun to mull regional accreditation, and Hershberger and Dr. John Brock were the primary sources of information on the issue.

“There were hundreds of hours of work by our office and thousands of hours campus-wide that went into that process,” Hershberger said.

The Higher Learning Commission approved Maranatha for regional accreditation in 1993. Not everyone in Baptist fundamentalism approved, however.

“We took a lot of flack for it,” Hershberger said. “But it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. People attacking Maranatha were making statements based on ignorance of the facts. They used the ‘slippery slope’ argument, but the truth was exactly the opposite. If you step outside of your educational mission, you will be held accountable. That’s the true nature of accreditation.”

Hershberger helped develop processes and documents that made life easier for students, faculty, and academic staff. One is the legendary Course Sequence and Faculty Planning spreadsheet, Maranatha’s academic roadmap.

“I find spreadsheets to be liberating,” Hershberger said. “I’ve embraced them from the beginning.”

When Hershberger becomes liberated from his office, you’ll often find him and his wife, Barbara, on their bicycles. David Hershberger estimated the couple will bike 1,500 to 2,000 miles each year.

Hershberger says Maranatha students haven’t changed all that much since 1974; at least not in ways that really matter.

“Some of the faculty members at lunch the other day started a conversation with, ‘Well, back when I was in school …,’ ” Hershberger said. “I just told them, ‘Hey, you’re forgetting what it was like.’

“They may do something silly that they’ll never do again. But, by the time they walk across the graduation platform, sometimes I wonder how we’ll ever replace them. Right now, many of them are still working on who they are. But God has a place for them, just like he had one for me.”

Barbara Hershberger: 33 years

As Barbara Hershberger enters retirement, she reflects on the many books she has acquired.

“I love all my courses—especially my literacy classes,” Hershberger said. “And how can you teach literacy without books?”

Hershberger taught several literacy-related courses at Maranatha, but her favorite was Children’s Literature.

“My favorite children’s book is Johnny Tremaine, because I think it’s an excellent balance of history and fiction,” Hershberger said. “I love history, biography.”

Hershberger’s personal history began with her salvation while in high school. She originally planned to go into business, but working with Sunday school classes gave her an interest in teaching. Hershberger began studying at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a degree in Elementary Education. She then earned a master’s degree in Literacy from UW-Whitewater.

“I know it sounds like a long time—it is a lifetime—but it’s gone so fast,” Hershberger said. “That’s life. That’s ministry. We’ve seen so many students graduate, and the Education Department produces teachers that aren’t limited to just America. We have people teaching as missionaries, in home schools, and at schools in other countries. Our grads are literally all over the world.”

One such graduate is Kristen Lloyd (’11), an Elementary Education major with a Special Education minor. Lloyd, currently teaching sixth grade on the island of Guam, took many classes from the woman she considers one of her favorite and most inspiring teachers.

“She pushed me to think,” Lloyd said. “I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to take so many classes from her. She has truly changed my teaching and my life for the better.”

Hershberger considers herself blessed to have taught students like Lloyd during more than three decades at Maranatha.

“I’ve enjoyed this so much because of the people. Teachers have to love their subject, and I love literacy, but I wouldn’t enjoy it if the people in my classes were not the high-quality, Christian-ministry-minded people we have at the College. I’d just like to say thank you to my students for the opportunity to be their teacher. They’ve made my life worthwhile.”