A Tribute to Dean Albin Erickson
September 25, 1904 to January 11, 1999
Dean Erickson was a special person, a man of integrity, wisdom, patience, good judgment, kindness, and understanding. He had a first-rate mind and was committed to the Christian Faith. Albin was dedicated to helping the on-coming generations find an integrated heritage of faith and learning. Faith and learning intersected in his very person. Albin was a respected and appreciated teacher and Dean when I began my studies at NP Jr. College in 1946. He was a mentor and a model for us, an imposing figure on campus, dignified, and friendly. He stood tall and straight as an arrow. You always felt he was approachable, and, that whatever the problem, he would be fair.
From the class of ’48, several former students said Dean Erickson was their favorite teacher. One wrote: “Dean Albin Erickson—sincere, dedicated, capable Christian instructor with a special gentle personality.” Another, Jack Peterson, said: “He taught technical subjects to those of us who were not naturally inclined to learn technical and scientific subjects. He was also truly interested in the whole student body, one student at a time.”
Albin held many different positions during his tenure at NP. He ran the gamut of leadership positions in the Academy and the College. He was at one time or another: a Chemistry teacher, Academic Dean, Dean of students, Director of the Summer School, Director of the Evening School, Head of North Park Academy, and Vice-president of the College.
Albin provided an important stabilizing, administrative influence during the transition from a junior to a four-year college. As a leader in the Academic Standards Committee and other committees, he maintained the view that the junior and senior years were not to be simply two more years tacked on, but that the entire four collegiate years must form an integrated, com-prehensive, rigorous academic experience. We all worked for years toward that goal. Under his leadership, the faculty awarded its first Baccalaureate degree in 1960, fully accredited by North Central Association.
These were years of great changes at North Park, and Albin had an important steadying role in the new directions of the College. I remember the day a letter was read at a College Faculty meeting from the NP Student Government President proposing to allow dancing on the campus. After some discussion, Dean Erickson rose to say that he supported fully the students’ viewpoint. A vote was taken and the letter was accepted. Albin saw things from the students’ point of view; he was the students’ friend.
Albin had other non-academic roles at the College, as well. He worked, for example, with the architect from Mercury Builders in the construction of Carlson Towers, the modern six-floor classroom building that stands alongside the north branch of the Chicago River at Kedzie Ave. Albin handled with dispatch all the many problems associated with the construction of this impressive structure. Some thought perhaps money could be saved if only one elevator were installed in Carlson. Albin wisely made the case for two.
I envision Albin now standing tall and true, a man in whom there was no meanness nor guile whatever, in that great cloud of witnesses to the Lamb. His life motto, I think, could be summarized in the words of Peter in one of his letters:
He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile. Let him turn away from evil and do right; Let him seek peace and pursue it.
Thank you, Lord, for such a truly good person as Albin Erickson.