R. Judson Carlberg grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts, steeped in his family’s evangelical roots. His father was a pastor, part of a long line of church leaders, and he chose his son's middle name in memory of the famous missionary Adoniram Judson––an honor Dr. Carlberg shared with Gordon College's founder, Adoniram Judson Gordon. President Carlberg completed his undergraduate degree at Wheaton College, where he met future wife, Jan. The couple moved on to Denver Seminary, where Carlberg completed a Master of Divinity; and then to Michigan State University, where he earned a master's degree in student development and a doctorate in higher education administration. Following 10 years as an administrator at MSU and John Wesley College, Dr. Carlberg joined Gordon in 1976 as dean of faculty. His fourteen-year tenure in this office saw a tremendous expansion in Gordon’s academic, global and faculty development initiatives. Then in 1990, Carlberg was appointed senior vice president for development. His support to then-President Richard Gross in key fundraising efforts enabled the successful construction of the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel.
Recognizing in Dr. Carlberg a rich understanding of the core identity of Gordon College, coupled with the administrative talent to turn this vision into new programs and exciting strategies, the presidential search committee appointed him the new president in May of 1992. President Carlberg would remain the College’s chief administrator for nearly two decades, guiding the Gordon community through times of intense and drastic change—“culture wars,” technological advances, unstable economic conditions—all the while building up the institution’s infrastructure and facilities, expanding its enrollment and academic prestige, and holding firm to the framework of faith that has always sustained Gordon.
Dr. Carlberg retired in 2011 as the longest serving administrator in the long history of the institution. In recognition of his years of outstanding leadership, he was appointed president emeritus.
Significant Presidential Accomplishments:
+ New buildings and facilities included A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel; Ken Olsen Science Center; Barrington Center for the Arts; Phillips Music Center; Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness; Bennett Athletic and Recreational Center; Brigham Athletic Complex; Tavilla Hall; Fulton Hall; Chase Hall; Nyland Hall.
+ Dr. Carlberg expanded urban and global education offerings to more than 20 approved programs, including three signature Gordon IN programs: Gordon IN Orvieto (Italy), Gordon IN Aix (France) and Gordon IN Boston.
+ With Dr. Carlberg’s presidency came an enhanced focus on the arts and sciences (evident in significant expansions in facilities and programs), encouraging growth of Gordon’s Faith Seeking Understanding model of education within every field of liberal arts.