Dr. David Osterlund Honored

October 13, 2014

Retired Columbia International University Professor Dr. David Osterlund is being inducted into the Music Hall of Recognition at University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. Osterlund served as chairman of the division of fine arts and the department of music at Northwestern from 1975-1988 before coming to CIU. A plaque will recognize him at the school’s Totino Arts Center where he coordinated the design of the music wing.

“I was profoundly gratified at this honor,” Osterlund said. “Of course over the years, I have seen various plaques on the walls of the Totino Fine Arts Center.  It is a pleasure to be asked to join the club!”

The honor recognizes Osterlund for not only his leadership at Northwestern, but also for his music accomplishments at CIU, and for his role in establishing the CIU Prison Initiative where he still actively serves as director emeritus. The CIU Prison Initiative offers the opportunity for qualifying male and female inmates to earn Associate of Arts degrees, before being disbursed throughout South Carolina’s prison system to minister as chaplain’s assistants.

Osterlund came to CIU as music chairman in 1989 and over the years directed choirs and bands, taught a number of music courses, and also developed a course called Christ the Creative process with the help of Christian recording artist Michael Card.   

In March of 2004, Osterlund was planning to retire when the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections contacted him to ask if he would consider developing a program to educate and train inmates for ministry under the auspices of CIU. 

“Setting aside retirement, I pursued the development of a program of a two-year undergraduate degree (and moving) it forward until the first classes were held in January of 2007,” Osterlund said. “It was a project that captured my imagination and one that I could devote a good deal of passion to.  In some ways, I felt it was a key reason for having made the move to South Carolina.”

The CIU Prison Initiative has graduated 75 student-inmates who have been assigned to over 22 institutions across the state.