Dale Brougher, Ph.D., retired from the University of Findlay in December, 2021 after 35 years of service. During his tenure at Findlay, he served as a faculty member, student advisor, and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (now the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences). Brougher was also active on many campus boards including Faculty Academic Affairs, Faculty Services, General Education, Assessment, and Chair of the Humanities Division. Though, his career at Findlay started years before as a student.
Brougher was first introduced to, then, Findlay College through his church in his hometown of Somerset, PA and, once he visited campus, he made the decision to commit to Findlay. After some time of not knowing which direction to take his education, Brougher found his path. “I felt a calling to be an ordained minister for a significant length of time, but was ignoring it,” he said. “In my sophomore year, I just decided, ‘it’s time to do this,’ and made the switch to religious studies.” After graduating from Findlay with a bachelor’s in religion, he continued his education at Winebrenner Theological Seminary (WTS) in Findlay and achieved his goal by becoming an ordained minister in the Churches of God, General Conference.
Upon completion of his studies at WTS, Brougher moved back to Pennsylvania to serve as pastor of a few churches. While serving, he continued his education earning a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. During this time, Findlay was working to expand their religious studies offerings and created a new faculty position. When Brougher heard of the new position opening up, he was encouraged to apply for it and sent in his application. “Coming to the University to teach was an unbelievable opportunity that, when I was a student here, I never dreamt I would have,” he noted. In August 1986, he accepted a position on the faculty teaching religious studies. The decision to once again join Oiler Nation was easy for Brougher. “Findlay College was a place that helped mold me as a person,” he explained. “When I came to Findlay [as a student], I was not a very outgoing individual. The educational process was not just the curriculum piece, but was also about the development of me as a person – I became a more outgoing person; a person who is more confident in himself.”
Brougher’s goal when he first began his professional career at Findlay was simple: “be the best faculty member I could be.” He explained his ultimate goal was “to succeed as a faculty member and to be the type of teacher that I would be proud of and, likewise, that the church would be proud of as one of their representatives on that faculty.” Brougher noted, “I’ve always been a person that likes to accomplish things and that likes to be of service. I’ve learned over the years that it’s through service that I find the most joy in life. Not simply serving, but providing leadership in the process of serving. The combination of service and leadership has always been very appealing to me. As a member of the faculty, I’ve always tried to do that.”
Between his dedication to teaching others and his religious calling, Brougher realized he had another goal for the University. “It’s been a passion of mine ever since being a student that Findlay needed to be more church-related than what it was,” he said. Over the years, programs like Campus Ministry, Revive, and religious studies programs have expanded immensely. “One of the things that not very many people realize, is we have service learning at the University of Findlay now – every student has to have service in their curriculum.” This began with an initiative Brougher worked on within the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “That service piece kept developing and now we have it as part of our identity,” he noted.
Throughout his many years working in higher education at Findlay, Brougher noted that there have been many changes that have affected campus. Perhaps one of the best changes Brougher has seen, has been with the students themselves. As the University continued to grow and enrollment increased, so did the quality of students. With more students came the addition of new academic programs and the improvements were made across campus. “There’s been a definite acceleration of quality of what the University offers students,” he said. Leaving a legacy of service and continued personal growth, Brougher hopes students “become more open to explore concepts of religion” and “understand religion not to be some set of rules, but rather a way of life that informs people in their decision making, lifestyle, and the value of it.”
Along with the lasting impression he has left on his students and the University, Brougher noted that he has also learned much during his tenure at Findlay. “My students have taught me a tremendous amount in the way of helping me stay current in life,” he said. “I’ve come to understand, not just from my students but through my studies in religious studies, that Christianity is much more abstract than we ever think of it… It is an experience of sharing that which Christ gave to us – the pattern of loving one another. And when we do that, the differences that we have between us become a lot smaller because we care.”