After 24 years serving in ministry at Wartburg College, the Rev. Ramona Bouzard will retire in May 2018 as dean of the chapel.
Spiritual Life & Campus Ministries will host an open house, beginning at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Bouzard accepted the call to Wartburg as director of church relations and associate in campus ministry in 1994, the same year the Wartburg Chapel was dedicated. She previously served as a parish pastor in Texas and Pennsylvania.
At Wartburg, she ministered to the college community alongside the Rev. Larry Trachte, campus pastor, until he retired in 2009. Bouzard was then called to serve as dean of the chapel, and the Rev. Brian Beckstrom accepted a call to Wartburg as a second full-time campus pastor.
“One of my highlights has been working with my pastoral colleagues here. Larry and Brian are great preachers, care-givers, collaborators … who could ask for anything better?” she said.
“Ramona has been an incredible mentor to me over the past eight years,” said Beckstrom. “I couldn’t be more grateful to God for calling us to work together. She’s helped me become a much better pastor than I would have been without her influence.”
At the top of the list of things Bouzard will miss is interacting with students.
“Having the deep conversations with students who want to talk about God and theology and wonder who they are; I’ve gotten to continue to grow with those conversations too,” she said. “It’s such a privilege to walk with young people through this time of formation. Everything I’ve learned about the world, I’ve learned from 18- to 22-year-olds, and it’s wonderful.”
Instead of the many changes she’s experienced over a long career in college ministry, Bouzard focuses on the consistencies in her years at Wartburg.
“We continue to have an amazing teaching faculty at Wartburg who are committed to Wartburg’s mission of teaching and deep learning with our students,” she said. “And the incredible growth of students while they’re here … that hasn’t changed over the years. Wartburg continues to present opportunities to help them have meaning in their lives, in the classroom, through co-curriculars and volunteering.”
Besides leading worship and preaching in Wartburg Chapel, Bouzard has taught a variety of classes, administered the college’s annual Graven Award, and maintained relationships with area churches. For years, she ran the national “Things That Matter in the Lives of Children” conference and junior high and high school events on campus.
Ramona’s husband of 43 years, the Rev. Dr. Chip Bouzard, will continue as a professor of religion at Wartburg. The couple plans to eventually retire to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.
The well-known campus pastor wants to try some new things in retirement. A history major in her college days, she plans to be involved with a program that helps people record their personal as part of their legacy to their families. The music-lover also would like to learn to play the bagpipes.
“I have a practice pipe, and I’m looking for a teacher, and I’m doing this. It is in my soul … music is my spiritual connection. There’s just something about Scottish bagpipes and Irish music,” she said. “Chip is glad that where we’ll retire there’s a place I can practice … he thinks they sound like howling cats.”