James Dale Unger

1941 -  

James Unger, choir and band conductor, was involved in Seventh-day Adventist education for twenty years. For most of those years he taught music and served as music department chair at the college and university level in three countries. Additionally, he also served as the college president at one of those schools.

James was born in Peoria, Illinois, one of two children born to Frank and Genevieve Jaimet Unger. Most of his childhood was spent in the Midwestern U.S. and Rhodesia, South Africa. He started lessons on the saxophone in grade school and continued through his high school years, also playing clarinet and singing in the choir while he was attending Helderberg High School in South Africa.

Following graduation in 1959, James enrolled at Helderberg College, where he continued to take lessons and participate in music ensembles, deciding in his second year to pursue a music program. Following completion of his work at HC in 1963, Unger and his wife Delina (Olivier), who had an LRSM (Licentiate Royal School of Music) in piano, served at Malamulo College for two years. They returned to HC in 1966, where he taught until the end of the 1969 school year. He then attended Andrews University, where he completed a B.Mus.Ed. and an MA in 1970.

After teaching at San Diego Academy in California during the 1970-1971 school year, Unger returned to South Africa, where he was a Lecturer at the University of Port Elizabeth, now the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, for five years. During that time, he completed a master's degree in musicology in 1973 and a Ph.D. in musicology in 1976. The subject of his dissertation was Dominico Scarlatti: the Methods and Incidence of Preparation for the Tonal Plateau, the Crux, and the Apex.

Unger then taught at Inca Union College in Peru in 1977 and 1978, before accepting a position at Antillian Union College, now Antillian Adventist University (Universidad Adventista de las Antillas), in Puerto Rico. For the next ten years, he taught in and chaired the music department and near the end of his time there served as president of the college.

Beginning in 1989 and continuing to his retirement, Unger pursued a career in biomedical information systems and web-based software development. He and his wife now reside in Dayton, Ohio.


Sources: Information provided by James Unger, 28 December 2011; General Conference Committee Minutes, 31 October 1963, 478; Trans-Africa Division Outlook, 15 March 1964, 11; 15 February 1966, 11; Review, 23 February 1978, 23; Inter-American News, 18 September 1979, 1; Adventist Review, 27 September 1979, 26; Nelson Mendela Metropolitan University website; Adventist Review, 15 December 1988, 22 and 10 August 1989.