Professor of History Emerita


Diana MagnusonB.A., Bethel University
M.A. and PhD, University of Minnesota

Diana taught at Bethel from 1994 to 2021.

Six years after graduating from Bethel, Diana Magnuson returned to her alma mater in 1994 to teach U.S. history, ultimately offering rigorous, thought-provoking courses on everything from women’s history to social welfare to the Civil War. “As a teacher,” one former student recalls, “Diana really instilled in me the importance of thinking broadly about historical sources,” especially evidence from those Americans who “had been left silent or marginalized.” Outside of the classroom, she made a particular investment in her teaching assistants, several of whom went on to graduate study in U.S. history, archival studies, or records management. As an archivist for twenty-three years, Diana shared her deep knowledge of Bethel and Converge and made it easier for constituents and scholars alike to understand better the history of those institutions. Bethel digital librarian Kent Gerber praises her “careful stewardship of institutional memory… We would not have such a thorough understanding of the uniqueness of Bethel’s story without her.” One of the world’s leading authorities on the history of the U.S. Census, Diana established a strong record of peer-reviewed publications and cultivated productive working relationships with researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Population Center. By making her faith active in love of the truth and of our neighbors in the past, she embodied the spiritual and intellectual heritage of Bethel.

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