One Hunared Years
The early history of Elmhurst College is an
interesting story illustrative of the social processes
at wor\ in the immigrant groups who came to
America about the middle of the nineteenth century.
After organizing their small religious associations,
these newcomers to America found themselves
faced with the same problem which occupied the
attention of the early settlers of Massachusetts and
Connecticut. They needed to provide for the
training of ministers and teachers if they were not
only to preserve their heritage of religion and
culture, but also to secure for themselves and their
children the privileges offered them by the new
environment in which they had come to
live. The process was not dissimilar from that
which resulted in the founding of Harvard and Tale,
for these institutions also had for their original
purpose the training of candidates for the ministry.
H. Richard l^iehuhr
— Elmhurst Yearbook 1926
The new institution flourished at Elmhurst.
It had a double purpose as a proseminary, to prepare
young men either to enter the theological seminary
with a sound \nowledge of languages, history,
the Bible, and some science, or to become teachers
in the parochial schools then commonly maintained
b)! Evangelical churches. It too\ them as they
came — lads usiudly from a parsonage or the farm,
fourteen years old or twentyone, and gave them
what the^ needed, ordinarily in a four^year course
rather more than the equivalent of an academy.
Paul N- Crusius
— Elmhurst College Bulletin 1940
The celebration of the 100th
Anniversary of Elmhurst College
calls for an historical sketch
surveying the development and
growth of the school in the course
of the years. It will be evident
that this is not a history in depth.
Limitations of space made it
necessary to give only a rapid
review of the highlights of one
hundred years of history.
We wish to pay tribute to the
diligent work and research of the
late Prof. Paul N. Crusius in the
area of the early history of the
College, to the efforts of the late
Prof. Karl H. Carlson in
maintaining the archives, and to the
monumental study by former
Dean William F. Denman in the
volume constituting his doctoral
thesis, entitled "Ehnhurst —
Developmental Study of a Church'
Related College." Without their
labors our task would have been
much more difficult. Our
appreciation is extended to Mr.
Ray Ramseyer and Mr. Russell
Weigand of the Department of
Development and PubUc Relations
of Elmhurst College for their
encouragement and guidance in
this pleasant task. I am grateful
for my lifelong association with
Elmhurst College, and I dedicate
this brief history to my
Robert C. Stanger
Elmhurst College Magazine, Volume IV, Number 3
Published quarterly by Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect, Elmhurst,
class postage paid in Elmhurst, Illinois.
linois 60126. Second
^THE ELMHURST YEARS^
The story of Elmhnrst College is a part of the story of pioneer education on
the American midwestern frontier. Our affluent twentieth century society is built
upon the accomplishments of the pioneering past. No one can tell that story with'
our remembering the service of the church in higher education on that early froyitier.
State - supported higher education in the West was in its infancy, coming into being
with the passage of the land-grant law, and the Morrill Act of 1862, during the
administration of President Abraham Lincoln. Until that time practically all acad-
emies and colleges were established by churches to meet the pressing needs of the
immigrant population. Among the colleges and universities in existence today, 182
were founded before the Civil War and 164 came into being under the influence
of some branch of the Christian church.
The private liberal arts college in America owes much of its origin to the
Christian church. The aim of the pioneer founders was to maintain a cidture in
the wilderness, to provide an educated leadership for the developing communities,
and to teach the liberal arts within the context of the Christian faith. Some of
these colleges unfortunately became narrow and sectarian, and in the course of time
withered and died. Others were able to adapt themselves to the changing needs of
the successive periods of history and have continued their service to this day. The
American system of education is quite unique in that education is not a monopoly of
the State. Within the system, there are schools supported by the state and also
schools established and supported by private groups, thus contributing variety and
richness to the fabric of our cidture.
With this as a bacJ^ground, consider the story of the Elmhurst years.
On December 6, 1871 President Carl F. Kranz
and fourteen students arrived in Elmhurst to
begin the program of the "Proseminary" — long
since known as Elmhurst College. Its primary
purpose was to prepare young men for entrance to
the theological seminary and also to train teachers
for the parochial schools conducted by the
sponsoring churches. It had been the intention of
the founding fathers of the denomination to
develop a college, but the urgent need of the
pioneer communities for pastors and teachers
dictated a program such as the Proseminary provided.
Elementary schools were poor for the most part,
and high schools were few and far between on
the midwestern prairie and in the backwoods
settlements. The Proseminary was essentially an
academy, receiving students at the age of fourteen
or fifteen and sending them on to the seminary
or out into the parochial schools after a course
of four (and later five) years.
The first building of the Elmhurst Proseminary in 1871 housed 24 students
plus the president and his family. The building was later divided into
sections, two of which were moved to Alexander Street, where they
continue to serve today as residences of professors.
Carl F. Kranz
Fiist Ptesidenl ("lnspel(tor"i Ttie
While serving as piesldent, he was also
the only leachet in the fledgling school.
Desctibed as highly intellectual, and a
collector of books, he shared with his
wife an interest in music. He received
his formal education at Breslau Univer-
The first benefactor of Elmhurst College.
Thomas Bfyan, was one of the pioneer
residents of Cottage Hrll. Illrnors. later
to become Elmhurst.
The photograph of the class of 1874 is interesting for two
reasons. First of all, it shows the class composed of both
teen-age boys and older young men - not uncommon in pro-
seminaries. Secondly, the young man in the second row, and
second from the right, is Daniel Irion, later to become the
first alumnus to serve as president.
The German Evangelical Synod of the West,
organized in the vicinity of St. Louis in 1840,
sought to minister to the thousands of German
immigrants who streamed into the Mississippi Valley
and into the Midwest as a result of the second
great wave of immigration in the early 1800's. It
represented the Evangelical branch of the German
Reformation, a Union Church, combining the
Lutheran and the Reformed branches, not rigid, but
warm and moderate in temper. This church group
had, with high courage and sacrifice, established a
theological seminary in Marthasville, Missouri
(now Eden Seminary, near St. Louis) in 1850. In
connection with it, a school, chartered as "Missouri
College," was established to meet the need for
a general education. The latter could not be
maintained because of conditions created by the
Civil War. In 1871 such a school was estaWished
in Evansville, Indiana, and was enlarged to
become also a preparatory school for the seminary.
Meanwhile, the German Evangelical Synod
of the Northwest, centering about Chicago, had
established a seminary in Waukegan, and had
moved it to Lake Zurich. A prominent minister
in the large German community in Chicago,
Pastor Joseph Hartmann of St. Paul's Evangelical
Church, had become acquainted with Mr. Thomas
B. Bryan, a prominent Chicago businessman
and real estate developer, who lived in the little
suburban town of Elmhurst. Mr. Bryan made an
The fiist new building of the Proseminary was erected in
1873 to accommodate the growth of the school. It is the old-
est building on the campus and still in use, housing class-
rooms, faculty offices and the Speech Clinic.
attractive offer of a tract of land, ten acres as an
outright gift, and twenty acres at a cost of $10,000.
On the highest point of land in this tract
stood a rather large residence, two stories in height,
with ample porches, overlooking a broad sweep
of lawn. This building stood approximately where
the College Union Building stands today.
This offer was accepted, and the house on the
property became the home of Melanchton Seminary
In the early fall of 1871, the Evangelical Synod
of the West, with great good sense, merged with
the Evangelical Synod of the Northwest. It
was then decided to transfer the theological students
of the Melanchton Seminary to the seminary in
Missouri, and to move the Proseminary so
recently established in Evansville to the large campus
available in the lovely town of Elmhurst.
Mr. Thomas B. Bryan was one of the early
developers of the village of Elmhurst, a leader in
planning its major streets and planting the lovely
elms on the treeless prairie. He maintained a
stately mansion on a wooded plot of land at the
southwest corner of what is today St. Charles Road
and York Street. It was Mr. Bryan who persuaded
the citizens in 1869 to change the name of the
village from the original "Cottage Hill" to
"Elmhurst." Elmhurst then had a population of
about 300, according to the census of 1870.
When President Kranz and his fourteen students
arrived in Elmhurst, they discovered that the
freight car, into which all of their furniture and
possessions had been packed in Evansville, had
not arrived. They found only bare rooms in the
residence on the new campus. The nearest
Evangelical Church was in Addison Township,
now called Churchville, about three miles to the
north. The hospitable farmers who were members
of the church received the professor and the
students into their homes. About Christmas time,
the freight car arrived, and on January 4, 1872,
formal class sessions began in the Proseminary at
Elmhurst. Ten additional students enrolled after
Christmas, and the first student body numbered
Enrollment grew rapidly to 35 in 1872, to 66
in '73, to 70 in '74, and to 97 in 1878. The
Proseminary met a real need. Among the students
were usually ten to twenty percent who were
enrolled simply as "college students," not preparing
either for the seminary or the teaching profession,
but simply seeking a classical education. The growth
in enrollment necessitated a second faculty member,
Rev. Frederick Weygold.
Enterprising students built a rough, one
room addition to the frame building, but the necessity
for a new and permanent building was apparent.
In 1873, our oldest college building, now known as
"Kranz Hall" was erected at a cost of $12,000.
The first floor contained chapel and classrooms, the
second floor an apartment and student rooms,
the huge attic served as dormitory, and the basement
provided a kitchen and dining room.
President Kranz (whose title really was
"Inspektor") found the burden of administration
and teaching too heavy and resigned in the fall
His successor was a quite remarkable young man.
Rev. Philip F. Meusch. He took hold with a gentle
but firm hand. Regular faculty meetings were
initiated; the course of study was fixed at four
years: commencement exercises were held at the end
of the school year. Growth in enrollment made a
second new building imperative. Ambitious and
careful planning resulted in the construction of
what we now call "Old Main," dedicated in October
of 1878. This stately building, with a tower,
contained classrooms, a laboratory, a reading room,
washrooms, dormitories, a chapel with nipe organ,
and an apartment for the president. The buildings
occupied only a small area of the 30 acre campus.
The major portion was used as a college farm.
Corn and oats and hay were cultivated. Cows roamed
the pasture, and produced milk for the daily
needs. A large garden produced vegetables. It was
an idyUic rural setting.
With the completion of Old Main the facilities
were ample. Enrollment rose to 101. The school
Philip F. Meusch
This remarkable man came to America with his
immigrant parents and helped his father clear the
land of his farm in Missouri. With only a common
school education he entered the seminary at
Marthasville, and by intense application compieted
both his college and seminary education at tlie
same time in four years.
was on an even keel and operating smoothly. The
pioneer days now were over.
The first catalog was offered in 1878. Into the
course of four years was crammed everything that
seemed to be essential. As far as possible, it followed
the model of a German "Gymnasium" (Academy)
with its classical emphasis. Latin and Greek,
plus proficiency in the German and the English
language, plus religion, history, geography,
mathematics, science and music constituted the
curriculum. The schedule included an average of 36
forty-five minute class periods a week, faculty
members carrying a load of 26 to 3 1 periods per week.
Dedicated in 1878 and erected at a cost of $25,000, the construc-
tion was aided by the school's first large gift by an individual of
$5,000. No further changes were made to the campus until 1896.
The life of the school is characterized by a
quaint paragraph in the annual catalog:
"Life in this institution is regulated entirely by
the stroke of the bell. The day is filled mainly
with instruction periods, but the students are
given time for exercise out of doors and for
the preparation of lessons. The day is begun and
closed, as it could not be otherwise in a
Christian institution, by common devotions.
The Sunday services are conducted by clergymen
on the faculty in the College Chapel." (After
the establishment of St. Peter's Evangelical
Church in Elmhurst in 1876, the students
attended Sunday Service there, proceeding in a
The total fee for tuition, board, room and
laundry was $150 per year (a rate which was
maintained without change, surprisingly, until
1913). The major portion of the cost of operation
was provided by an annual subsidy by the German
Discipline was strict, and enforced by a system
of demerits. An interesting sidelight was a rule
that "association with persons of feminine gender
is strictly forbidden."
Growth of the student body necessitated an
increase in the faculty, with some laymen on a
faculty in which clergymen predominated, most of
them educated in Europe. Among those recorded
as teachers in the early years are such names as
Henninger, Zimmermann, Sauerbier, Lueder, von
Luternau and Kaufmann.
President Philip F. Meusch died suddenly and
unexpectedly on July 25, 1880 at the age of 44
years. His grave is in the little cemetery adjacent to
In September 1880, the Reverend Peter Goebel,
a man of deep piety and of unselfish devotion
to duty, assumed the presidency, coming from a
family of distinguished preachers.
A number of significant developments marked
his administration. While enrollment remained
stable, the overcrowded schedule of courses was
relieved by the addition of a fifth year to the
curriculum in 1885. Faculty members destined for
long tenure now came to the school, men like John
Lueder (1881-1910) in history, Herman Brodt
(1882' 191 8) in pedagogy and German, and C. J.
Albert (1884-1892) in English. A proposal to
add more "college" students (i.e. students seeking
not a pre-theological but a general education)
was unfortunately not accepted.
President - 1880-1887
Students at work - late ISOO's
The Faculty - 1885-86
Standing left to right: C. J. Albert, A.M., English and Bookkeeping
H. Brodt, German, Pedogogy, Violin; G. Ebmeyer, Mathematics,
History, Geography; George Rosche, Music; E. Kuntze, Natural
Seated: J. Lueder, Ancient Languages; Peter Goebel, Inspektor
(President), Religion; Daniel Irion, German and History.
The farm on the west part of the campus piovided the 1o(3d
supply for the small college community.
This interesting view of the Northwestern Railroad shows the
undeveloped land to the north of the campus.
The Goebel administration also witnessed the
beginnings of a hbrary at Elmhurst when a
Literary Society, established earlier, took charge
of books available for student reading. Named after
the beloved former president, the Meusch Society
carried on its program in a special club and reading
room provided in the recently erected "Old
Main." Following the example of other American
schools, a number of literary and debating societies
developed, giving the rigidly controlled students
opportunity for much desired self 'expression. These
groups presented programs on Saturday nights,
offering activity and entertainment and hfe on dull
weekends before the era of "movies." The names of
these groups are interesting — Concordia, the
Demosthenes Club, the Owl, and one of the most
enduring, the Schiller Society which remained in
existence until 1925.
A glee club was organi2;ed as the Orpheus Men's
Chorus in 1884, beginning an unbroken tradition
Another interesting development was an annual
festival, the "Seminapfest," usually held in early
June, which brought thousands of people by train
The Meusch Society, one of the several literaiy societies,
had this reading room in the basement of Old Main. This was
the only library until 1912 when a college facility was
available in Irion Hall.
The Orpheus Singing Society was the forerunner of the modern Glee
from the churches of Chicago and by wagon from
the country towns. An outdoor worship service, plus
meals and refreshments and fellowship, made this
a memorable day and a tradition that continued
until the end of the Proseminary era in 1919.
President Goebel resigned in 1887, and was
succeeded by Daniel Irion, the young pastor of St.
Peter's Church in Elmhurst, and the son of an
eminent pioneer educator and theologian of the
Evangelical Synod. He was the first alumnus of
Elmhurst to be called to leadership by his Alma
Mater. His administration was destined to be the
longest in the history of the College — 32 years
— from 1887 to 1919. In retrospect, we may call
these years "The Irion Era," the great middle
period of the history of Elmhurst College. They
were years of stability and of steady growth and
Dr. Irion was successful in gathering a faculty
which remained virtually intact during this whole
era. It included the profound scholar, Emil Otto
(18904904), as well as Carl Bauer, also a graduate
of Elmhurst, a man of dynamic intellect and
encyclopedic knowledge, who has become somewhat
of a legend at Elmhurst. Also there was George
A. Sorrick, first faculty member with an American
M.A. degree, teaching in the English language, and
C. G. Stanger, another alumnus, who came in 1896
as professor of music, turning later to the department
of romance languages, and remaining for 50 years.
Other well'remembered names of the Irion era are
H. Ark, H. L. Breitenbach and Emil Hansen. In
the later years came Paul N. Crusius, American'born
and Harvard'educated, an outstanding teacher and
scholar, and one of the earliest influences for
a new Elmhurst and a shaper of its destiny.
The course of study remained practically the
same throughout this period, except for the gradual
increase of the use of the English language. The
enrollment increased from 103 in 1887 to 133 in
1892 and remained fairly steady at about this
level until the last decade of the Irion regime when
it climbed to 160 and 170 and then dechned again.
Pre'theological students were in the majority, with
parochial school teachertrainees a sizeable minority
until the end of the century. There were always
a handful of "college students" and day students,
interested in securing a general education.
Dr. Irion, through all his years, continued the
traditional role of the "Inspector," or "Director"
— the titles by which the president was known.
He was administrator, teacher, supervisor, keeper of
records, dean of instruction, disciplinarian and
father'confessor — a formidable role.
A high point of his second decade was
the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the
Proseminary in 1896. In recognition of this event,
the denomination raised funds for the third
building on the campus, the Dining Hall, later known
as "The Commons." This red brick building on
the site of the original seminary building provided
kitchen and dining room, laundry, guest rooms,
sick rooms and an apartment for the superintendent.
It was razed in 1964 to make way for the present
College Union building.
Two significant events are recorded in connection
with the Silver Jubilee, the first a great assembly
of people from Chicago and environs on June 21,
1896 to celebrate the occasion. The second was the
first alumni meeting on record, led by Rev. Carl
Mueller '74, and for which Rev. Rudolph A. John
'75 of St. Paul's in Chicago wrote some memorable
songs such as the song about syrup — which
sustained many a student.
(Sung to tune of "Old Oaken Bucket")
"From dear distant days, I think of the syrup,
Which once as a youth I so richly received.
Which there on the table in a neat little jug
Gave out sticky sweetness, until it o'erflowed.
Mornings and evenings, and sometimes at lunchtime,
There was on the table, prepared for our use,
The syrup, the syrup, the rich golden syrup,
Which stuck to our fingers when mealtime was done.
The winds of change were blowing, however,
and the third decade of the Irion era saw many
new developments. The church was slow to respond
to change and resisted far too long the upgrading
of academic standards. An increasing number of
The "Seminar Fest"
An annual all-day assembly on the Elmhutst campus
attracting a thousand or more people from the churches of
Chicagoland for a Sunday outing. Greeted by the marching
band, the guests participated in an outdoor service, dinner
and general fellowship.
Dr. Daniel Irion
President of the Proseminary 1887-1919. Born in Missouri,
the son of an outstanding pioneer theologian at the semin-
ary of the Evangelical Synod, a graduate of the Elmhurst
Proseminary and of the Marthasville, Missouri Seminary,
he became pastor of St. Peter's Church in Elmhurst, then
a teacher and eventually President of the Elmhurst Pro-
seminary. An able administrator, a great teacher, a father
figure to students, he led the Proseminary through its long
middle period and the establishment of the College.
Elmhurst College Faculty about 1900
Standing - left to right: C. Weisse, George Sorrick, C. G.
Stanger, H. Brodt, Carl Bauer.
Seated - Emil Otto, Daniel Irion, president; John Lueder.
younger alumni began to raise their voices in
meetings and in church publications demanding
modernijjation and extension of the program of the
school. Those going on to other American colleges
found it difficult to have their work at Elmhurst
accepted for credit at other institutions. In 1901,
the University of Illinois, after a careful evaluation,
placed the Proseminary on its list of accredited
secondary schools. Elmhurst graduates were allowed
one year's advanced standing in languages, but
were required to make up a deficiency in laboratory
science, forcing the installation of laboratory facilities
in 1902. What this meant was that the program
of the Proseminary was the equivalent of four
years of high school and approximately one year
of college. In 1909, the Proseminary was placed
on the list of accredited secondary schools by the
North Central Association, and in 1913 it was
officially recognized by the University of Chicago.
The name, "Elmhurst College," was in popular
use for some time before the turn of the century,
but it was first used on the cover of the catalog in
1901, a bit prematurely, to be sure, but a challenge
nevertheless. How slow the process of change was
is attested by the fact that it was not until
1917 that the catalog was issued in the English
The growth of the school necessitated a new
dormitory in 1912 which was named "Irion Hall."
It included, beside student rooms and dormitories,
a large chapel with beautiful stained glass windows,
an adequate gymnasium in the basement which
doubled as assembly hall with stage, a large library
room, and an apartment for the president. The library
now became an official part of the College,
supplanting the student literary society reading
room, and was organized on modern library
principles. The gymnasium permitted the formation
of a basketball team.
The athletic program was a part of student life
from very early days, but was a purely voluntary
activity of students and in no way supported by the
school. In 1902 the Student Athletic Association
was formed, and was supported by student'paid dues.
Soccer, baseball and track activities became a
semi-official, but completely student supported, part
of the school program. The teams entered successfully
into intercollegiate competition. Not until the
Junior College was established did the school
officially support an athletic program.
The demand for change and for the establishment
of a fuU'Scale college came from many quarters,
and was voiced in the denominational journal,
"Messenger of Peace," and especially in the student
magazine, published jointly by students at Eden
Seminary and Elmhurst College, which was called
"The Keryx." Younger faculty members, particularly
Paul Crusius, and students such as Reinhold
Niebuhr and his brother Helmut R. Niebuhr,
wrote vigorously and insistently for the transforma'
The first Science laboratory. The
venerable Dr. Irion and Professor
George A. Sorrick are pictured
The first official library of the
College was established in 1912
in space provided in the new Irion
Student hi-jinx around 1910 -
particularly interesting because
it pictures Henry Dinkmeyer
(controlling the halter around his
fellow student's neck) and H.
Richard Niebuhr (behind Dink-
meyer) both destined to become
Elmhurst College presidents.
A student room in Old Main about
tion of the Proseminary into a real college.
The First World War (1914-1918) shook the
old foundations and hastened the day of change.
The end of World War I brought with it the end
of the German language culture as well as the
end of old ways of life and action. By 1919 a new
era had dawned for the world and also for Elmhurst.
Dr. Daniel Irion, now old in years but alert to
the current situation, retired from the presidency
in the summer of 1919, bringing to a close not only
the longest tenure of any president (32 years)
but also marking the end of the history of the
Proseminary. Dr. Irion, an exceedingly able teacher
as well as administrator, remained as a member
of the faculty until 1928, honored and revered
until his passing on October 25, 1935.
The Proseminary had been handicapped by
slowness of vision on the part of the constituency
and also by poor financial support. The agitation
by a new and younger leadership in the sponsoring
denomination for more adequate educational
provision for the youth of the church and for a
program of quality education resulted in the decision
to organize a junior college. This was planned to
develop to senior college status quickly, while
retaining the remainder of the proseminary as an
academy. While the major purpose of the junior
college was still pre-theological training, its program
was now expanded to include a course of general
education for all young men who applied.
Dr. Daniel Irion and his succes-
sor, Dr. H. J. Schick (1919-1924)
marking the transition from the old
Proseminary to the modern
Academy and Junior College In
Tne Transition Period
The Academy and Junior College
Leadership for this period of transition in the
life of the school was vested in the new president,
the Reverend Herman J. Schick of Evansville,
Indiana, an alumnus of the Proseminary, an able
pastor who was also known for his interest in
programs for young people. He was to be the
administrator of the school, as well as the teacher
of the courses in religion, and was also to serve as
dean of the Junior College. He also pursued
graduate studies at the University of Chicago during
the summer season, achieving the Master of Arts
degree during his term as president.
Herman J. Schick
The first leader of the reorganized
school, the Elmhurst Academy and
Paul N. Cruslus
Coming to Elmhurst in the last
decade of the Proseminary, Ameri-
can-born and Harvard-educated, he
promoted the idea of the change to
college status and became one of
the leading shapers of the new
The process of reorganization of the school
proceeded gradually. There were two divisions. The
Academy had as its head a principal in the person
of Prof. Paul Crusius, the youthful faculty member.
Harvard-trained, who had been so influential
in advocating and guiding the changes in the last
years of the Proseminary. The Junior College
had the new president as its dean. There were two
programs of education, the one pre-theological
in purpose, and the second offering a general and
classical education. There was also the beginning
of a modest elective curriculum, and the introduction
of new social science courses, followed by a
strong development of the science departments.
Laboratory facihties were provided and the
departments of chemistry and biology were visibly
strengthened. Also added were courses in public
speaking, economics, psychology, history of
education, and physical education.
The faculty was strengthened in line with this
development. Teachers with degrees achieved in
American universities, some with doctor's degrees,
came to take their place on the faculty. Three names
especially stand out in this period, Karl Carlson
in the department of English. Homer Helmick in
Chemistry, and Th. W. Mueller in Sociology. They
devoted their entire careers to the life and
development of the newly created college and
are remembered gratefully for the shaping influence
of their life and work. Other members of the
Karl H. Carlson
Professor of English from the
earliest days of the modern
college and one of the most
beloved personalities in our
history. A great teacher and
friend of students.
faculty engaged in summer graduate studies to
enhance their efficiency and to raise the standards
of the college.
The success of the reorganization was reflected
in the increasing enrollment of students, from a
total of 120 in 1919-20 to 162 in 1921-22 and 173
in 1922-23. Soon commuting day students began
to appear, and also the first tuition fee, $100 per
year. There followed a reorganization of the
administration. The business responsibilities were
assumed by a steward or business manager. For the
first time there was an office secretary in the person
of Miss Elfrieda Lang. A registrar was appointed,
who also doubled as physical education director
and football coach. The Reverend Robert Leonhardt
filled this post. The president was interested in
promotion and public relations and news items were
released to the papers. The president began to
participate in activities in the community, breaking
out of the relative insularity and isolation of the
earlier years. Mrs. Schick, wife of the president,
organized a Women's Auxihary, soliciting help
from the women's organizations throughout the
denomination, and also enrolling willing workers
from groups in Elmhurst and Chicago. They
engaged in tasks from mending of clothes to interior
decorating in the dormitories and also fund-raising.
The Elmhurst Proseminary and Eden Seminary
in St. Louis were sister institutions. Elmhurst
was the "feeder" for Eden. The new leadership at
Commons Dining Hall
The Menioiial Library erected m 1921 by the young people of
the denomination in tribute to the men who gave their lives
in World War I.
The faculty of the Proseminary in its last year - 1918-19.
Left to tight: George Sorrick, Carl Bauer, C. G. Stanger,
John Schmale, President Irion, H. L. Breitenbach, Emil
Hansen, Paul Crusius.
Elmhurst believed that its first responsibility was
to maintain this relationship, and so also did the
church at larg;e. A certain amount of confusion
was inevitable as the new arrangements were worked
out. For instance, at the end of the 191849
schoolyear. the last year of the Proseminary, the
majority of the graduates went on to Eden Seminary
as usual. Six of them, however, accepted the
challenge to stay and form the second year class
of the Junior College. In the next few years, students
had the option of going on to seminary training,
or of completing their work in the Junior College
or to continue as Senior College students. A
cooperative arrangement was also entered into with
Washington University in St. Louis, whereby
students might achieve their college degree while
studying at Eden Seminary.
It is interesting to note that when the senior
college program began in 1923, the official name
of the school became "Elmhurst College,"" a
designation which it had carried unofficially and
which was in popular usage ever since the first
decade of the century.
The winds of change also affected student life
at Elmhurst. The style of Hfe of other American
college campuses quickly began to assert itself at
Elmhurst. The old, rigidly scheduled program of the
Proseminary yielded to the larger freedom of the
American schools. But not without problems, as
one might expect, and the early years of the new
college were sparked by student protest as the new
confronted the old. The right of students to a
voice in their governance was recognised by the
formation of a student council and a representative
form of self'government to safeguard student
interests. There was great emphasis on "school
spirit." An "Alma Mater" song was developed.
Freshman initiation was a controversial issue, as was
the matter of social dancing. There were social
clubs, approximating fraternities, which soon ran
into difficulty. A debating team made its appearance.
The most influential student organi2;ation was
the Y.M.C.A. and so brought valuable outside
contacts. Moreover, it provided a modern outlet
for the essentially Christian purpose of the
school. In time, the freshman orientation program
counterbalanced the unofficial initiations. Special
groups formed teams representing the College in
churches and community groups. Contact was
established with world-wide student groups, such as
the Student Volunteer Movement, and numbers
of students were recruited for missionary service,
just as today's students enroll in the Peace Corps
and Vista. One of the permanent benefits of the
Y.M.C.A. was the founding of the student
newspaper, "The Elm Bark," in 1920. Appearing first
sporadically and then regularly, it has continued
to be the voice of student opinion and the reporter
of student activity to this day.
The athletic program now came into its own.
There had been a keen interest in athletics
throughout the Proseminary period, but it was a
completely voluntary activity, sponsored by the
students alone. Athletics now became the responsi'
bility of the college. Soccer football had been
the recogni2;ed fall sport. Now rugby football
supplanted it in 1920, and regular football in 1921.
The athletic program was directed by a student-
faculty Athletic Board. In 1922, the first full-time
coach was appointed in the person of Robert Hale
from Miami University. In the following year,
Elmhurst joined the North Illinois Junior College
Athletic Conference along with Crane, Elgin,
St. Procopius, North Park, and Chicago Normal.
As in most other American colleges, athletics
was now an official part of the Elmhurst program.
All of these developments necessitated changes
in the physical structure of the campus. New
buildings became necessary. The library had grown
from three thousand to eight thousand volumes
by 1921, although there was not yet a full-time
librarian. In 1921 came the new Memorial Library,
built by the young people of the denomination
in memory of the men who had given their
lives in the service of their country in World War I.
A challenge gift of $10,000 by Mr. William
Volker of Kansas City sparked the campaign for
$40,000, led by the young alumnus, Reinhold
Niebuhr, who in his student days had agitated so
strongly for the transformation of the Proseminary
into a college. With the new library came the
first full-time librarian in the person of Miss
The new library was in part a gift to the college
in honor of the 50th anniversary, the Golden
Jubilee. This event was appropriately celebrated
in June of 1921 with a large public gathering on the
campus and with the publication of a special
In 1923 a new men's dormitory was completed,
known as South Hall (now Schick Hall), in the
place where once the barn and the gardens were
located. The campus lost its rural character and
became a part of the urban setting. In 1923 Old
Main was completely renovated, and modern
laboratories for the science courses were created
along with up-to-date classrooms.
The enrollment continued to grow and exceeded
the 200 mark in 1923. The curriculum was
enlarged by the addition of courses in philosophy,
psychology, education and the social sciences.
The first homecoming program for alumni was held
in 1923. The Junior College gained accreditation
by the North Central Association in March of 1924.
It seemed as though the newly developing college
had come through its period of infancy rather well.
Then, in 1924, Dr. Herman J. Schick resigned
his post of president and returned to the parish
ministry in Chicago.
H. Richard Niebuhr
In three brief years lie guided the Col-
lege into the modern era of liberal arts
education and also projected the plan of
the campus which has been followed to
or tne College
(Tke College Era)
The Board of the College again turned to one
of its own alumni in the person of H. Richard
Niebuhr. In the fall of 1924 he accepted the challenge
and began his work as president. H. Richard
Niebuhr was a graduate of the Proseminary in
the class of 1914. After completing his work
at Eden Seminary in 1917, he went on to graduate
studies at Washington University and later at
Yale University, and in due time achieved the
Ph.D. degree. He was, therefore, the first president
of Elmhurst College to be trained in the American
university system, and was very familiar with
the program of higher education in America.
One of the most brilliant among Elmhurst graduates,
he and his brother, Reinhold Niebuhr, were
destined to play an outstanding part in the American
cultural scene. It is not surprising that Dr. Niebuhr
quickly won the confidence of both the faculty
and the students. A man of vision and purpose,
he was at the same time modest and humble;
and he was able to enlist the cooperation of his
colleagues. He placed emphasis upon academic
freedom, encouraged research and broad reading, and
in general developed modern educational aims
and creative scholarship. The emphasis shifted to
cultural rather than vocational training. Elmhurst
College was to be not primarily a pre'theological
school, although Dr. Niebuhr had a strong interest
in the Christian ministry, but a school which
With the Junior College now firmly established,
the Academy gradually declined. High schools
were now developed and growing, even in the
rural areas, and the need for an academy became
less urgent. The major effort was now directed
towards the development of the junior and senior
years of the College and the fulfillment of the
dream of Elmhurst as a full four year hberal arts
college. The selection of a new president to direct
this effort was a matter of crucial importance.
The Elmhurst College Seal was designed by
Robert Leonhardt, the first registrar and also foot-
ball coach about 1925. at the request of President
H. R. Niebuhr. Since Dr. Niebuhr was a graduate
of Yale the similarity of the Elmhurst seal to that
of Yale University is understandable.
emphasized the liberal arts as the best preparation
for whatever one did as a career.
There were also new approaches to the
community. Scholarships were established for
graduates of the Elmhurst high school. A School of
Music was estabhshed, serving local young people.
The college library was opened to the public. The
college theater enlisted the interest of many.
Ever since its beginning, the school at Elmhurst
had been governed by a board of education
which also supervised Eden Seminary. In 1925
Elmhurst College was granted its own Board of
Trustees to direct its own new and unique course.
Student life received attention, with the organization
of a Student Union as a form of self 'government.
Dormitories had their own "house committees."
Chapel services, instead of being held each morning
and evening, now were held four times a week.
Uniform tuition fees were established, and there was
an end to "free education" at Elmhurst.
Fresh attention was given to the status of the
faculty. For the first time academic ranks were
instituted, and faculty members became speciahsts
in one area rather than generalists as in the entire
Proseminary era. A salary schedule was adopted
for the first time, and modest efforts were made
towards a pension plan. A program of sabbatical
leaves was projected, but because of circumstances
of the times, was not generally implemented.
The wise leadership of President Niebuhr
encouraged the Board to engage in long'range
planning, a radically new idea. A Four Year Plan
was projected to meet the bare minimum needs
of an emerging college: an endowment fund of
$400,000; accreditation of the College by 1929; a
new gymnasium; the enlargement of the laboratories
and of the library. This was followed by an
elaboration into a Ten Year Plan, envisaging an
endowment of one million dollars, a new chapel or
auditorium, a goal of an enrollment of 400 students,
and, most visionary of all, a long'range campus
plan. For the latter purpose the board engaged the
services of Benjamin Franklin Olson of Chicago
as the college architect. Every new building for
the next forty years was designed by him. He outlined
the first general campus plan, envisioning buildings
on both sides of an open mall, with a chapel
or assembly hall crowning the far end of the mall,
and, interestingly enough, providing for a group of
women's dormitories, although co'education had
not yet been planned. (It should be said that
the residences for women were safely isolated in
a far section of the campus!) The style of
architecture recommended was English Colonial, a
style lending itself to ease of construction and
maintenance. This whole plan, at the time of its
conception, was completely visionary. Yet it is
a surprising fact that this is the plan which the
Niebuhr's long range campus plan.
college has followed in its main outline to the
present day. Only with the construction of the
Science Center in 1965-66 was a modern and
functional type of architecture employed, as well
as a new architect.
Unfortunately the denomination and the
constituency of the College did not rise to the
challenge and vision of its brilliant president. The
General Conference of the Church failed to
authorize the necessary financial undergirding.
There seemed to be no adequate appreciation by the
people of the demands of a college of stature
and quality. The budget struggled in the face of
deficits. Since the denomination had always
underwritten the meager budget of the Proseminary,
no endowment fund had been established. In the
face of apathy the progress was difficult. Dr.
Niebuhr's health broke under the strain and he
resigned his presidency in the spring of 1927.
He was by nature a scholar and teacher, and
administration and promotion were not his style. He
had accepted the challenge out of pure loyalty
and dedication. Let it be said that in spite of all
obstacles he laid a foundation and "dreamed a
dream" without which Elmhurst would never have
become what it is today.
It should be said that Dr. Niebuhr was ably
assisted by Prof. Th. W. Mueller, the young teacher
of sociology, who in 1925 became academic dean
of the college, also serving as dean of men. An
Elmhurst alumnus and schoolmate of Dr. Niebuhr
at Elmhurst and Eden, he too was trained in the
graduate school of an American university and
was well qualified to direct a modern program of
higher education. Serving as teacher as well
as administrator, he carried an unbelievably heavy
load. He guided and worked with the faculty
in hammering and shaping a modem curriculum.
He served as dean from 1925 until 1948, through
all the difficult years of the depression, of the
struggle for accreditation, of the coming of
co-education , of the emerging problems of World
War II. After relinquishing the deanship, he
continued as a valued faculty member until 1962,
for a total period of 41 years. He is undoubtedly
one of the leaders in the shaping of the Elmhurst
College which we know today.
Prohlems of the Growing College
It was not easy to find a new president following
the Niebuhr administration. Tradition demanded
that the president be an ordained minister, and
candidates with the qualifications which would
enable them to guide a modern college were hard
to find. So for almost the entire academic year of
1927-28 Elmhurst operated without a president.
During this period of "interregnum" the College
was directed by a committee of three members of
Th. W. Mueller
The fitst dean of Elmhurst
College and one of the
shapers of the new Elmhurst
The leading personalities in the early history of the "New Elmhurst,"
The Twenty-five Club: Karl Henning Carlson, Paul N. Crusius, Christian
G. Stanger, Theophll W. Mueller, and Homer Helmick - on the faculty for
at least twenty-five years.
Dr. Homer H. Helmick (R), first Chairman of the Department
of Chemistry and President Lehmann.
At the dedication of the Gymnasium, Dr. Lehmann accepts
the keys to the building from the board chairman, the
Reverend Herbert B. Brodt.
the faculty and administration. Dean Th. W.
Mueller served as chairman, together with Prof.
Paul Crusius, the principal of the Academy, and
Dr. Homer Helmick, the head of the Chemistry
Department. They kept the ship on a steady keel
and struggled valiantly with the problems. There
was a financial crisis to be faced due to the effort
to create a modern college without adequate
support. There was no endowment and the school
lacked accreditation, and caught in that vicious
circle it was difficult to maintain the enrollment. It
was during this period that the decision was made
to close the Academy.
During the last year of the Niebuhr
administration, plans were drawn for the much
needed new gymnasium. Sparked by a contribution
of $25,000 by Mr. WiUiam A. Wieboldt, a
Chicago department store head, the fund'raising
effort was initiated. The major appeal was to the
alumni of Elmhurst, and Rev. Theodore Mayer
came in 1926 as assistant to the president and fund
raiser. This effort stimulated the organi2;ation of
the alumni and a sum of $125,000 in cash and
pledges was secured with much effort. Construction
began during the interregnum period and was
completed in the early months of the new
administration. A second building project was
undertaken with much difficulty, namely the
construction of the President's House in 1928. This
house was razed only recently to make room
for the new Buehler Library. After this spurt of
building, no major construction project was
undertaken for over twenty years. There were other
problems to be faced.
The Gymnasium built by the Alumni in 1928 to meet a great
need of the "New Elmhurst."
The President's House, built in 1928, was the gracious home
of the presidents beginning with Dr. Lehmann.
The Elmhurst Campus in the 1930's - unchanged for twenty years.
Piesident - 1928-1948
Courageous leader of Elmhutst College through
days of the depression, World War II and its
aftermath, he built the endowment fund, led the
effort towards accreditation, brought in coeduca-
tion, and guided the College through its most
Timothy Lehmann Appointed President
After a careful search, the Board of Directors
called the Reverend Timothy Lehmann of Columbus,
Ohio to the presidency. Although elected in
September 1927 he could not reHnquish his duties
in Ohio until the spring of 1928. In May of that year
he came to Elmhurst. The Reverend Mr. Lehmann
had been a successful pastor of a large city church
and was known as a denominational leader, a man
of deep commitment, and a person with an ability
to secure funds for charitable causes. He was,
again, an alumnus of the Elmhurst Proseminary,
but with no experience of any kind in a modem
college or university. He was installed in September
1928. The situation which he faced was a difficult
one indeed. In spite of this, his administration
came to be the longest in the history of the College
to date, namely twenty years, and second only to
that of Dr. Irion in the old Proseminary.
There were two urgent challenges to be faced
immediately, namely to achieve a measure of financial
stability for the school, and also to press towards a
position of accreditation by the North Central
Association. It was a formidable task and he
addressed himself to it with strong effort and great
courage. He was fortunate, in having as his
associates the men who had been the executive
group during the interim period. Dean Mueller,
Prof. Crusius, and Dr. Helmick were experienced
leaders in higher education. The President was
free to serve as promoter, fund raiser, puUic relations
man, and guardian of the tradition.
President Lehmann could see the need for a
broadening of the educational program and a
raising of academic standards, but he also felt the
demand of his Board and of his constituency to
maintain the Christian character of the school and
its pre-theological emphasis. He involved himself
in the life of the Elmhurst community, serving
on the welfare board of the city, on the Selective
Service Board of the County, and in the Kiwanis
Club, as well as other civic enterprises. He won
many friends in the community.
President Lehmann also was active in the
wider educational groups, such as the Council on
Higher Education. He stimulated a program of
recruitment of students, not only from the
denomination but from other backgrounds. Scholar'
ships were provided for graduates of area high
schools. He continued the process already begun of
breaking out of the traditional shell and entering
the mainstream of American higher education.
The athletic program received his attention in an
attempt to "put Elmhurst on the map." The
College joined the Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference. Well remembered in this connection is
the career of Elmhurst's athletic coach and leader,
Oliver ("Pete") Langhorst who served for a
period of 36 years, and has become a living legend
in his own time.
A Public Relations office was established, manned
at first by students. Area newspapers took note
of Elmhurst, and the ambitious slogan of "Chicago's
West Side College" was promoted.
Effort was made to improve the status of the
faculty and to raise the salary structure, a constantly
recurring problem throughout his administration.
Public relations efforts spurred an increase in
enrollment of local young people. The gymnasium
effort gave new impetus to the Alumni Association.
A College Bulletin was issued quarterly to
maintain communication with alumni and the public.
In spite of all of this earnest effort there were
frustrations galore. The financial problems were
tremendous. Elmhurst College was caught in a vicious
circle. In order to operate efficiently it needed
increased enrollment, but enrollment was hampered
by lack of academic accreditation. One can have
only admiration for the courage and determination
of Dr. Lehmann in batthng this situation. Moreover,
the sponsoring denomination, the Evangelical
Synod, had problems of its own. Neither the
denominational officials, nor the members of the
College Board were fully aware of the needs of a
modern college. Financial requests did not find
a full understanding. The constituency of the
denomination was often critical of the changes
which were taking place at Elmhurst. The need for
a college or a college education was not understood
Marching band - 1934-
by the public in the IPlO's as in our modern day
where higher education is the vogue. Charges
of religious liberalism, unseemly student behavior,
new kinds of social activity were whispered and
sometimes openly expressed. With the shift from
Proseminary status to college standing, a decline
in prc'theological students in the ratio of the
student body was to be expected, but was often not
understood. Annual deficits in the budget, which
were quite natural, brought forth strong criticism.
All of these problems were heightened by the
onset of the economic Depression of the early SO's.
One could hardly imagine a more unfavorable
situation. Shortly before the Depression, the General
Conference of the Evangelical Synod had authorized
an endowment fund drive, an absolute necessity
if North Central accreditation was to be achieved.
The matter was further complicated by the
insistence that this campaign should benefit both the
college and Eden Seminary. It should be added that
throughout the Proseminary period, the budget
of the school had been subsidized in major
proportions by the denomination, and no endowment
was needed and so none had been established.
Undaunted by the economic circumstances.
Dr. Lehmann and the Board initiated the major effort
known as the "Elmhurst'Eden Advance" in 1930.
The goal was $1,250,000. Three-fourths of the
income was to go to meet the needs of Elmhurst
College. It was further stipulated that a portion
was to be used for repayment of bonded indebtedness,
another portion for endowment, and a small
portion for capital improvements. A professional
fund'raiser was engaged to conduct the campaign,
a very new idea in institutional financing, not
conducive to wide public acceptance. With incredible
energy. Dr. Lehmann gave himself to this task,
traveling far and wide in the Middle West and
the East among the constituency of the College.
The campaign began in Elmhurst with an appeal to
local citizens, a first effort of its kind. Four hundred
pledges were received, totaUing $66,000. Students
and faculty members with their meager resources
pledged generously. When the Elmhurst'Eden
Advance was finally closed in 1933, pledges in the
amount of $1,800,000 had been received from 21,254
subscribers in all parts of the country. Many were
estate pledges, payable upon the death of the
subscriber. Remarkable as this achievement was, it
was vitiated by the Depression and by the default
of many subscribers because of economic
circumstances, by the excessive costs of the long
campaign, and by the collection costs attending
the effort. In the end, the net was disappointingly
small, leading to further criticism of the
administration. Nevertheless, after all was said and
done, almost $100,000 had been secured in
endowment, out of the quarter million dollars
accruing to Elmhurst College. It was enough to meet
one of the conditions of accreditation, and it was
the basis of our present endowment fund, still
markedly inadequate. One can only say that President
Lehmann was an "unsung hero" to accomphsh
what he did in spite of incredible obstacles. Elmhurst
College would not be here today without his effort.
Strenuous efforts were made to stabilize
the financial situation. The process of student
recruitment was increased by temporary field
representatives. Elmhurst's fortunate location aided
in the process, and in a short time commuting
students comprised about one'half of the student
A fortunate development was the beginning of
the program of coeducation. It had been authorized
in 1929 and began with the 1930'31 academic
year, when fortysix women were enrolled. They
were for the most part commuting students, since
no residence facilities were available for them.
Elmhurst College was in its seventh year as a four
year college, and in its fifty-ninth year as an
institution. Coeducation, already generally accepted
throughout our country, represented a new
educational pohcy for Elmhurst College. The matter
had been under discussion for some years,
especially among the younger graduates, who felt
that only in this way could the Church fulfill its
obhgations to the young women in its membership.
Mrs. Timothy Lehmann, the gracious hostess at tea in the
President's house. (The Oriental rug in the living room is
still in use in the president's home today.)
Dean Genevieve Staudt, Professor of Educa-
tion and Dean of Women (1931-1961) beloved
by generations of students.
"The Old Order Yields to the New". President Emeritus Irion
greets the first women students at Elmhurst, 1930.
There had been vigorous debate, both pro and
con, but when the decision was made, coeducation
was readily accepted by all. Mrs. Lehmann, the
wife of the President, served as temporary Dean of
Women, and eased the way for the newcomers to
the campus by her graciousness.
In the second year, the women students were
housed in the community, and the teacher of history,
Miss Grace Falck, became Dean of Women.
Finally in the third year, Irion Hall, one of the
dormitories for men, was made available as a
residence for women students. The coeds were readily
assimilated into the life of the school. A Women's
Glee Club and a student Y.W.C.A. were
organized. There is no doubt but that the co'eds
changed the face of the campus and set new patterns
for the social life and activities of the school.
Enrollment of women students increased rapidly
until they in time constituted some forty percent
of the student body.
It was at this time that the College was blessed
by the coming of Miss Genevieve Staudt to the
faculty and the staff, first as teacher in the
Department of Education and then with the added
duties of Dean of Women. She lived in Irion Hall
and shared her life with the new women students.
The normal and natural development of the
program of coeducation at Elmhurst College is
due in no small measure to her influence. Under her
direction the program of teacher education gained
new strength and acceptance. A graduate of Iowa
State Teachers College and of Iowa State University,
she added much to the stature of the faculty and
to the spirit of the school. Practically her whole
professional career, spanning thirty years of service,
was devoted to Elmhurst College and its students.
Hundreds of graduates entered the teaching
profession under her guidance, and Elmhurst became
well known for the quality of the teachers who
were trained here. Many hundreds of students,
both men and women, remember the gracious
character and the strong and friendly personality
of Dean Staudt. When she retired it marked the end
of an era.
The next great aim of President Lehmann and
of the faculty and the Board of Directors was the
achievement of accreditation by the North Central
Association of Colleges, the accrediting agency.
The attainment of this goal was absolutely necessary
in order to achieve academic respectabiHty and
status, and with it a larger enrollment. Graduates
of Elmhurst College had difficulty in having their
credits accepted in graduate schools. The Junior
College had been recogni2;ed earlier by the University
of Illinois, and in 1929 the Senior College received
qualified recognition. Following a request for
North Central Association accreditation, the custom'
ary study team of the Association was assigned
to make a preliminary review of the program of
the school in February of 1932. A more formal
The first coeds take part in the 1930 Home-
Coeducation comes to Elmhurst - 1930.
The Lodge on the Challacombe property was the home of
many upperclassmen. until it was replaced by the Science
Study and evaluation came in 1933, and the decision
was unfavorable to the College. The points of
weakness were duly noted — the lack of an
adequate endowment, insufficient provision for the
library, inadequate background and qualifications of
some faculty members, lack of support by the
constituency, and lack of proper organisation in
some areas. President, faculty and Board quickly
addressed themselves to the task of overcoming these
problems and difficulties. A renewed application
for accreditation was made in early 1934, and
again a review team visited the campus. Finally on
April 24, 1934 President Lehmann received the
message that Elmhurst College had been approved
by the North Central Association of Colleges and
had been accepted as a fully accredited four year
liberal arts college. Joy was unbounded on the campus
and a noisy and cheering parade of students wound
its way through the streets of Elmhurst to let
everyone know the glad news. Elmhurst College
had gained a new stature.
Financial problems and denominational slowness,
as well as problems of enrollment continued to
plague the college. As commuting students increased
in numbers, the percentage of students from the
sponsoring church declined, as did the number
of pre'theological students.
A number of significant events should be
quickly noted. In 1934 the Evangelical Synod entered
into a union with the Reformed Church in the
student Parade to celebrate accreditation - 1934.
United States to form a new denomination, the
Evangelical and Reformed Church. The partner in
the merger brought seven colleges into the
denomination, all of them financially more secure
and with larger endowments than Elmhurst.
Among these colleges were Heidelberg in Tiffin,
Ohio, and Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. All of this brought a new challenge
and incentive to the leadership at Elmhurst.
In 1939, the Board of Directors, at the urging
of the President, purchased an adjacent residential
property at the corner of Prospect Street and Elm
Park Avenue in spite of the financial problems of the
school. The Challacombe property was a strategically
valuable addition and its purchase a tribute to
the foresight of Dr. Lehmann. It is today the site
of our Science Center.
In 1941 the administration and the Board took
advantage of the occasion of the 70th Anniversary
of the College to convene a conference of midwest
regional representatives to discuss the future of
the College and to increase understanding of its
problems and challenges and to seek increased
In 1941 it was deemed wise to engage in self'
study and to organize an institutional review. The
purpose was to discover the strengths and weaknesses
of the developing college. This study was made
under the direction of Dr. John Dale Russell, an
educational leader of national repute. It gave an
added stimulus to the academic development of the
In 1942 a great forward step was taken as the
college received its own charter. Until that date it
had operated as the property of the sponsoring
denomination and under its charter. This new step
gave to Elmhurst College separate corporate
existence and ownership of its own property. It gave
to the school increased autonomy, while maintaining
a close connection with the church. The Board
was able to elect one-half of its membership, the
other half being appointed by the denomination. The
way was now open for the selection of leading
persons from the community and from the alumni
group for board membership.
The involvement of the United States in
World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor
on December 7, 1941, brought a real crisis to
colleges and universities. Elmhurst College was
no exception. As men were drafted into military
service or accepted remunerative war-time jobs,
the enrollment began to decline. It was difficult to
raise special funds or to receive government aid.
As Elmhurst College faced the crisis, the President
and the Board of Directors were forced to make
all sorts of arrangements to meet the situation.
Retrenchment, salary cuts, adjustment of standards,
major economies, expedients of various kinds were
the order of the day. Once more loyalty and dogged
determination found a way through.
THE CAMPUS IN 1934
When the war ended in 1945 and the world
had entered the Atomic Age, new problems in
new dimensions presented themselves to the College.
With the return of the men from the war and the
provision of government scholarship assistance for
the veterans, enrollments began to increase rapidly.
At Elmhurst the enrollment of 300 suddenly
increased to 500, and in the following year to 650.
The college was not prepared for such an increase.
To begin with, it had inadequate facihties. A
number of barrack structures secured from govern'
ment surplus gave some relief and the unfinished
swimming pool area in the gymnasium became a
dormitory. There were no adequate financial
resources to meet this sudden upsurge and the
College was forced to borrow money and add to
its indebtedness. It was difficult to find the needed
additions to the teaching staff. Also the return
of the veterans brought a different spirit to the
campus born of the "rough and ready" of army
There were, however, real benefits which accrued
from this new development. Larger enrollment
made possible a larger and greater college. The
athletic program revived spectacularly with the vigor
of the veterans. The pre-theological enrollment
increased to almost one hundred students. New
organizations arose on campus, a science club, a
veterans club, a pre'theological club. The College's
own wired radio station made its appearance, later
becoming an P.M. station broadcasting publicly.
The College Theater took on new vigor. Since 1929
it had functioned under the strong leadership
of Prof. C. C. Arends, who also sponsored the
Elmhurst Community Theater.
It seems to have been the fate of Elmhurst College
to have its major anniversaries come in the
worst of times, the Golden Anniversary of 1921
in the wake of World War I, and the 75th
Anniversary in 1946 in the aftermath of the Second
World War. "The Diamond Jubilee" was planned
during the war emergency. One feature was to
be a major financial campaign with a goal of one
and one-half milHon dollars. The appeal was to be
made to a selected group of individuals from the
churches in the constituency. There were ambitious
plans: a science hall, a chapel'auditorium, a
student union building, new scholarships and
endowed chairs. For all the dreams and the effort
only $175,000 was secured when the Diamond .
Jubilee Campaign closed in 1947. The times were not
right. There was inadequate organization, no
professional leadership, and an unprepared
constituency. However, the cultural program of
events, spread over the entire year of 1946, did have
real value. It included a convocation early in the
year, a concentration of events at the Commencement
season, with a large public assembly on campus,
an Institute on "Religion and the Liberal Arts"
featuring outstanding speakers, a Jubilee Home'
coming, and a Chicagoland banquet of recognition.
At the end of the Diamond Jubilee and in the
aftermath of the war, President Lehmann began
to feel his advancing years and the weariness of the
struggle and of the many frustrations. He submitted
his resignation in late 1947, bringing to a close
a term of twenty years, as previously mentioned, the
second longest term in Elmhurst history. The
Lehmann years were years of growth, of turmoil,
of change. Coeducation, accreditation, financial
campaigns, war, depression, after'war conditions, all
faced within one period of twenty years. An
incredible situation! President Lehmann was an
"unsung hero" whose real greatness of achievemtent
we appreciate in the retrospect of the years.
At the same time the College received the
resignation of its longtime academic dean, Th. W.
Mueller. He had been a loyal co' worker with two
presidents in the critical growing and shaping years
of the college. Without his academic "know how"
and administrative skill the policy decisions of
the president and of the Board could not have been
implemented. Strong, rough hewn, completely
loyal and dedicated, honest and straight'forward,
he worked unbelievaljly hard through all the years
of stress and strain and ultimate achievement.
Fortunately, he continued as professor and head of
the sociology department until his retirement in
1962 after fortyone years of service. Elmhurst
College is indebted to him beyond measure.
Facing tne Future
Tne Moaem College
Not waiting for the election of a new president,
the Board of Directors began the search for a
new academic dean. It naturally sought an educator
for this post and found one in Alfred Friedli of
St. Louis, Missouri. He was a respected schoolman,
with wide administrative experience, and the
principal of a large high school in St. Louis. His
graduate degree was achieved at Washington
University. He was also a dedicated layman and
church leader. He accepted the challenge presented
by Elmhurst College after much deliberation.
Dean FriedH was destined to play a large part in the
shaping of the modern College.
At the same time the program of student services
was enlarged by appointing the Dean of Women,
Miss Genevieve Staudt, as Dean of Students.
A careful search led to the election of a new
president, in the person of Dr. Henry W. Dinkmeyer.
He was the successful pastor of a large church
in Chicago, and so was in line with the tradition
which called for a minister to be president of the
school. Dr. Dinkmeyer was an alumnus of Elmhurst
College, and a classmate of President Niebuhr.
He was one of the small group who extended their
theological training at Eden Seminary with further
graduate work, in this instance at Yale University
and at the University of Chicago. He had also
served for years as a member of the Board of
Directors of Elmhurst College, and for a time as its
chairman. He was therefore well acquainted with
the history of the college and also with its problems
and challenges. He began his work with energy
and enthusiasm in the early months of 1948. Dr.
Dinkmeyer was a suave, soft-spoken gentleman
with a friendly manner, and was also a very
capable executive. Although academically well
trained, the major bent of his personality was
practical. He never forgot the history of the school
nor its character as a school of the church. By his
steady and quiet approach, he soon achieved excellent
relations with the constituency of the College
and also with the Board of Directors. As a result
he gained an additional measure of autonomy for
that body. His business efficiency soon manifested
itself in the achievement of financial stability.
Dr. Dinkmeyer was ably assisted by his
colleagues in administration. The new dean of the
college. Dr. Friedli, took aggressive leadership
in academic and curricular matters. To meet the
needs of the local community he proposed an Evening
Session which grew rapidly from a small beginning
to an enrollment of 400 students. He encouraged
the enrollment of foreign students and young people
Dr. Henry Dinkmeyer
President - 1948-1957
Dean of the College
"A Hole to be Filled by Faith"
Dr. Dinkmeyef's unique method in developing new buildings
from minority groups. The first black student
was graduated in 1951. The college intensified its
cooperation in regional and national educational
associations. Strong efforts were made to establish
a sound salary structure. Within the boundary
of limited financial resources, encouragement was
given to the faculty for additional study and work
towards advanced degrees. There was a careful
development of educational policies, the addition of
new departments, such as psychology and
economics, and experimentation in interdisciplinary
courses. The faculty curriculum committee became
very active under the new dean's leadership.
The program of teacher education which was
already a strong asset was further developed under
his skilled leadership, utih^ing the local resources
of Elmhurst's fine system of public schools. A notable
development was the beginning of a course in
speech correction which over the years grew into
a very significant program. All told there was marked
development of scholastic standards.
A second valuable new source of help was
the appointment of Dr. Clarence E. Josephson as
assistant to the president in 1949. He became in
effect the business manager. Dr. Josephson was a
unique personality. A highly gifted man, he had
trained for the ministry after a very successful period
as a business executive with a large corporation.
He had served for a period of years as the president
of the denomination's Heidelberg College. He
^^^^rVV^^^ViHr ilfl/ n nV y.
brought a strong element of business efficiency to
augment the president's abilities along this same
line. With this new element in the situation, the
deficits which had accumulated were eliminated and
careful budget controls were instituted. Wise
investment policies were implemented. Through
the combined efforts of the president and his
assistant, new gifts, legacies and annuities, as well
as new scholarship endowment contributions, were
received. The Board of Directors discovered
that the financial condition of the College was more
sound than it had ever been.
The post'war pressures of enrollment growth,
stimulated in part by the G.I. BiU of Rights,
together with coeducation and the increase in
enrollment of commuting students made discussion
of a "ceiling" in the accession of new students
a matter of necessity. The number of 650 was
thought to be a reasonable limit, but continued
growth made 1000 seem to be a long range possibility.
The growth in enrollment necessitated new
attention to the physical facilities of the college.
For the first time in over twenty years new buildings
were planned and erected, and Dr. Dinkmeyer's
talents bore ample fruit. The college had no large
scale financial resources for such projects nor were
large gifts immediately available. The procedure
used by the president was unique. He engaged a
bulldozer, and ordered a hole to be dug where
a dormitory was to be built, and then erected a sign:
President Dinkmeyer with two veteran faculty members, Dr.
Paul Crusius and Prof. C. G. Stanger.
The cornerstone laying ceremony for Dinkmeyer Hall was the
second "Hole to be Filled with Faith."
Mr. Louis Hammerschmidt (L) and Dr. Erwin Koch (R), former
chairman of the Board of Trustees with President Dinkmeyer.
Another Hole To Be Filled
FOR A NEW CHAPE
ONE HALF Of THE HOLE HAS BEEN fILLCi
DR. LOUIS M. HAMMERSCHMIDT
"A Hole to be Filled by Faith." The response was
remarkable as gifts came from near and far.
Going one step at a time, a new dormitory arose,
named "Lehmann Hall," and then another
dormitory named, much against the will of the
president, "Dinkmeyer Hall," a mark of grateful
recognition by the Board of Directors. These
activities stimulated modest gifts of larger size by
trustees and other friends, and then the largest gift
ever received by the College up until that time.
It was a gift of $300,000 in stock certificates by
Mr. Louis M. Hammerschmidt of South Bend,
Indiana, a well known lawyer, and a long'time and
loyal member of the Board of Directors. It was to
be used to pay one-half of the cost of a new chapel
and classroom building. With this challenge a hole
was again dug "in faith" for the collection of the
second half of the necessary amount. This goal was
not immediately realized since the gift came very
late in Dr. Dinkmeyer's tenure, and was left as the
first challenge for his successor. Other buildings
during the Dinkmeyer regime included an attractive
apartment building for faculty housing, a new
heating plant, and in the very last months a much
needed addition of two wings for the old library.
In addition to all of this. Dr. Dinkmeyer and Dr.
Josephson directed the construction of paved
roads on the campus and the development of the
central mall or "sunken garden," as it was often
called, which was a part of the original Niebuhr
campus plan. The planting of new trees and shrubs
began to make the campus a thing of beauty.
No wonder that Dr. Dinkmeyer's career came to be
designated as that of "the builder."
There were other favorable events during this
period. The Ford Foundation in December 1959
gave tremendous encouragement to the private
colleges of America by a gift of a half billion dollars
for endowment purposes, the largest single gift
in the history of philanthropy. Elmhurst College's
share in this benefaction was $134,000. It was
stipulated that the income from the investment of
this amount was to be used to increase the salaries
of professors. The joy generated by this, the
second largest gift ever to be received by the college
up until that time, can be imagined. This donation
stimulated other gifts by corporations and founda-
tions, and also by churches and individuals. The
United States government took note of the needs of
the private colleges, and the beginnings of a new
program of government loans for scholarships falls
into this period.
There were developments also in student life,
with growing understanding of the need for
larger freedom in student government. "The
President's Council" was a means for student'
administration communication. The requirement of
compulsory attendance at chapel services was
quietly dropped. These services were held on two
mornings each week, with evening vespers at
stated times, planned and led by students. "Religious
Emphasis Week" and a Winter Retreat between
semesters followed the pattern set by other colleges.
Larger cultural events were rare, but an annual
Lecture Series, planned by a committee made up
of students and faculty members, was quite
successful and brought outstanding speakers to the
campus. The athletic fortunes of the College were
at low ebb, especially in the area of football
competition, giving rise to vigorous discussion among
alumni, as well as on campus.
The college was growing and its program
was developing. Modest tuition increases eased the
financial burden. The College operated, however,
with only a minimum administrative staff, every
officer carrying a growing and sometimes over-
whelming burden of work.
Dr. Dinkmeyer, now nearing the age level for
retirement, in February of 1957 announced that
he would relinquish his office at the end of the school
year, allowing time for the choice of a successor.
Two weeks after this announcement to his Board he
passed away suddenly, without warning, of a
heart attack in his home. This came as a shock to
the campus and the constituency. Dr. Dinkmeyer,
the friendly, agreeable gentleman, the builder, the
organizer, had achieved much during his admin-
istration of nine years. Elmhurst College was
well on its way towards coming into its own.
Dr. and Mrs. Stanger in receiving line at installation recep-
tion - 1958.
""On tlie Tkresnold of tlie Future"
(A Time or Rapia Cnan^e ana Grrowtn)
What follows is really not a story of the past
but a part of the present, and many who will be
reading these hnes are involved in it. For the
sake of perspective a cursory sketch will suffice to
help us see the dimensions of the present.
Following the death of Dr. Dinkmeyer, an
interim committee, composed of the assistant to the
president. Dr. Josephson, Dean Friedh and Dean
Staudt, guided the affairs of the school. The
Board once more followed tradition in its choice of
a new president, in the person of Robert C.
Stanger. An ordained minister, a Ufe-long friend
of Dr. Dinkmeyer, and his successor in the large
church in Chicago, the new president came
with unique credentials. He had been born on
the campus, the son of Prof. C. G. Stanger, a member
of the Elmhurst faculty for a record span of
fifty years. Dr. Stanger was a graduate of the
Proseminary in one of its last classes (1918).
Following his work at Eden Seminary, he continued
to follow the course of his predecessor in graduate
work at Yale University and the University of
Chicago. For a period of three years he served as
an instructor at Elmhurst, and one year of that
time as dean of men. His was a hfe'long contact with
the school because of his family ties. He was
acquainted with its history and knew its early leaders.
When the call came to become the president of
his Alma Mater, he prepared himself by taking a
summer refresher course at the Institute of Higher
Inauguration Party at installation of President Stanger, IVIay
1958. Left to right: Dr. Clarence Josephson, Dean Genevieve
Staudt, Dr. William L. Rest, Dr. Robert C. Stanger, Dr. L. W.
Goebel, Mr. E. J. Goebel, Dean Alfred Friedli.
Education at the University of Michigan and
repeated this in other summers.
It was a time of rapid change in the world at
large and in the realm of college education. The
Russians had just launched "Sputnik" and the
impetus which it gave toward intensified educational
development, especially in the sciences, was
unmistakable. The "population explosion" had
finally caught up with the colleges and the "war
babies" were now the young adults pressing into the
schools. As the boom developed, public universities
and colleges were beginning to draw students
away from the private colleges. Higher education
was now "the thing" and it was felt that provision
must be made for every young person who wanted
to go to college and who could qualify. With the
growing costs and mounting budgets, business and
industry were moved to become involved in the
financial undergirding of higher education.
Foundations lent their support. Federal and state
governments gave assistance through special
legislation assuring student scholarship loans and
grants, loans for new dormitories, and finally
loans and grants for classroom buildings, libraries
and laboratories. Under pressure of necessity,
privately supported colleges were availing themselves
of government funds.
Elmhurst College was always mindful of its
heritage as a church'related college, with a unique
purpose, and yet the obligation to meet the urgent
need for higher education for the general public
brought about a new direction. It would be less and
less a denominational service institution and more
and more a full' fledged American college. This
was to be its Christian service to the present age
while endeavoring to maintain its traditional spirit.
The sponsoring denomination. The Evangelical
and Reformed Church, had just completed a
merger with the Congregational churches to form
the United Church of Christ. The Congregational
colleges, some of the oldest and most prestigious
in America, had a tradition of independence and
of limited denominational support. Elmhurst
had always received considerable church subsidy,
and needed now to become more self'sufficient.
The governing board of the College revised its
constitution and changed its name from Board
of Directors to Board of Trustees, and elected a lay
chairman, and broadened its membership by the
addition of prominent businessmen to its roster.
Two developments came in rapid succession
in the new administration. The first was a largcscale
program of self 'Study, prompted by the requirement
of the North Central Association of Colleges
and Secondary Schools for a periodic review. The
faculty approved this project and the 1959'60
school year was devoted to it. Under the leadership
of the dean and the guidance of a faculty steering
committee and seven study committees, this large
scale self 'Study was implemented. It reviewed every
Mr. Louis M. Hammerschmidt, devoted
trustee of the College, whose gift made
possible the new Chapel, receives con-
gratulations from President Stanger and
Chairman E. J. Goebel at the time of the
presentation of his portrait.
Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel - 1959.
aspect of the college program in the light of modern
accreditation requirements. This was followed by
the visit of the North Central review committee
consisting of the Reverend E. J. Drummond, vice
president of Marquette University, and President
Douglas Knight of Lawrence College. This brief
account can only state that both the strengths and
weaknesses were honestly faced. The report of the
review committee gave hearty approval to continued
accreditation, but also gave very pointed suggestions
as to areas needing attention. This spawned a
number of special study projects which were
carried on in the next year and beyond.
The second development was a recommendation
by the president to the Board of Trustees to begin
a program of development of institutional resources
and facilities. This represented a new and rapidly
growing movement among colleges. A preliminary
study by a firm of development counselors revealed
the weakness in relations with the large civic
community and the business and industry in the area,
as well as the lack of adequate support by the
alumni. Understanding for such a project had to be
developed in the faculty and the constituency.
Again summarizing all too briefly, let it be said
that this development program began slowly, but
proceeded to become one of the most important
forward steps in the outward growth of the College.
A promising young businessman, academically
oriented because of an official connection with a
national collegiate fraternity, Mr. Darl Snyder,
became the director of development. He at once
developed a strong program of public relations.
While immediate financial returns were small, a
strong foundation was laid for the future. Personal
and corporate gifts began to come in and the
alumni association had its first successful large-scale
solicitation in 1961. Very significant contacts were
made with foundations and the business community
and the Board of Trustees was inspired to new
activity. After careful preparation and study a
ten'year program projection, known as the "Decade
of Development," was presented at a College
Convocation on May 14, 1961, and at a large public
dinner meeting in Elmhurst, attended by a
significant group of citizens and civic leaders. The
ambitious campus plan was an updating of the
original plan of Niebuhr's administration in the
1920's drawn by the same architect, and much
nearer now to realization than it was in those far-off
days. The Decade of Development envisioned
increased endowment, better salaries for faculty,
scholarships, additional library resources, better
classroom facilities, plus a new science building, a
student center, a new fieldhouse and a fine arts
center. The Decade of Development, planned to
culminate in the 1971 Centennial observance, is in
process of realization now as is evident to any
observer of the campus scene. The dream of
many years is becoming a reality.
The program of development brought some
immediate results in the construction of new
buildings. The new chapel, made possible by the
large gift of $300,000 by Louis M. Hammerschmidt,
was augmented by a like sum given by churches,
alumni and the church constituency. The
Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel was dedicated in
1959, and soon thereafter a magnificent Moeller
pipe organ was installed, and within a year the
building was debt-free. It was designed as a multi'
purpose building with a large auditorium for
worship and for assemblies, a smaller hall on the
ground level, together with much needed classrooms
and faculty offices. The new federal housing
program provided a long term loan for the construe
tion of a modern dormitory, Niebuhr Hall, in
1961, including a new health facility. Careful
planning, in spite of many difficulties, brought into
being the large new College Union in 1964,
providing a center where resident and commuting
students would meet, where student organi2;ations
would work and social and cultural programs
could be arranged. At the same time adequate new
dining and snack bar facihties were provided.
This completed, planning was begun for the urgently
needed science building. Since a functional type
of architecture was necessary for this new facihty,
a new architect was chosen, replacing the firm which
had served the college in one style of architecture
for nearly forty years. Detailed plans were ready
when the president was about to retire. The College
Union and Science Center were erected with partial
loans and grants from federal funds, augmented
by gifts from foundations and individual donors.
The new buildings changed the face of the campus.
At the end of this period of college history,
the enrollment had reached the one thousand mark
and gave every evidence of continuing its advance,
and the evening session was also growing rapidly.
Academic standards were raised step by step
stimulated by the academic dean and by his staff
and faculty associates. Tuition rates increased year
by year. New faculty benefits were instituted. A
process of selective admissions was instituted
when the college was admitted to the College
Entrance Examination Board in 1963.
The college assemblies were planned to alternate
between a weekly chapel service and an assembly
featuring cultural programs, to which the people of
the community were invited. As funds became
available, larger programs of concerts and lectures
were provided. A full'time chaplain. Rev. Robert
Schieler, joined the staff in 1963.
The larger program required a larger staff. The
deans and administrators had carried very heavy
loads through the years. Dean Staudt, Dr.
Josephson, Dean Friedli, reaching the statutory
age, retired in successive years, having served long
and valiantly and genuinely meriting the grateful
remembrance accorded to them. With the coming
Mr. Darl Snyder, first Director of Development •
groundbreaking for Niebuhr Hall 1961.
The Board of Trustees approve plans for the
College Union - 1963.
Dr. Friedli, upon his retirement as Dean, joined
the teaching staff of the Department of Education,
His service to Elmhurst covered a period of twenty
years - 1947 to 1967.
College Union Building. Second step in the
Decade of Development.
The Glee Club - David Austin, Director,
Well remembered faculty members of recent decades.
Clifford C. Arends, long-time
Chaiiman of the Department of
Speech and Ditectoi of the Col-
lege Theater toi 39 years. (1929-
Dr. Walter Wadepuhl, Emeritus
Professor of German language and
literature and distinguished
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver "Pete" Langhorst, "Uncle Pete",
Director of Athletics and Coach for 36 years (1933-69). Mrs.
Langhorst for many years was Alumni Secretary. They are
loved and honored by many generations of students.
Dr. Harvey De Bruine, late professor of biology and highly respected teacher
of William Denman, as Dean of Students in 1961,
there came also a reorganization and enlargement
of the program of student personnel services,
reaching into every facet of campus life. Trevor Pinch
came to the Business Manager's office soon
thereafter. Robert Swords became registrar and
director of the evening session. With the retirement
of Dean Friedli from administrative to teaching
responsibihties in 1962, a new academic dean was
called in the person of Donald C. Kleckner. His
coming marks the beginning of an exciting new
chapter in the ongoing story of Elmhurst College.
The athletic program passed through a troubled
period, marked by a necessary withdrawal from
the college conference with which our school had
been associated. New leadership in a new admin'
istration is now able to recoup these setbacks.
In the closing year of Dr. Stanger's administra'
tion, the Board of Trustees engaged in an unprece'
dented study retreat, conferring with faculty,
students, and administrators, as they looked towards
the future. Out of it came a Ten Point Program
and a revised Statement of Purpose: "Elmhurst
College is committed to being an educational
institution where within the context of Christian
faith and concern dedicated teachers and qualified
students are brought together for the purpose of
learning and of searching for truth. Academic
excellence and academic freedom are paramount
in this experience." Dramatically significant changes
had taken place, bringing in the modern college,
ready for a new large forward step.
In bringing to an end his term of service and in
his last report to his constituency. Dr. Stanger
was able to say: "In days that are difficult,
particularly for the small, private college and the
church-related school, we have every confidence that
the unique contribution of the Christian college
will be maintained. One conviction is constant with
me as I close this report, namely that Elmhurst
College is on the threshold of a future filled with
opportunity, challenge and with promise."
College faculty - 1958.
A STORY THAT IS BEING WRITTEN
(History in tke Mating)
The search for a new president was carried on
by a large committee in which for the first time,
faculty, students and alumni were involved. By and
large the committee was convinced that the new
leader must be an educator with wide experience
and an earned doctorate in his field. After almost a
year of searching and many interviews, the conviction
grew that the man who could best meet the needs
of the times was already within the rani^s of the
administration, in the person of the academic dean,
Donald C. Kleckner. Here was a man whose whole
professional career had been spent in college and
university work, whose graduate schooling had led
to the doctorate, and who in his few years as
dean of Elmhurst College had come to know the
school and had given it strong academic leadership.
Acting upon this knowledge, the Board of Trustees
in May of 1965 elected Dr. Donald C. Kleckner to be
the tenth president of Elmhurst College. For the
first time in its history the college had a layman
as its leader. Here was a president with expertise
in education, fulfilling a hope quietly expressed by
practically every clerical incumbent of that chair
since the Proseminary became the College.
Dr. Kleckner's undergraduate studies were
carried on at Heidelberg College, Tiffin, Ohio, a
school which, like Elmhurst, was sponsored by the
United Church of Christ. His graduate work was
Dr. Donald C. Kleckner, tenth president of Elmhurst College.
at the University of Michigan where he received
his Ph.D. degree. For a time he taught as head of
the department of Speech at his Alma Mater,
Heidelberg, before going to Bowling Green (Ohio)
State University. Here he served as Chairman of the
Speech Department with special interest in debate
and in the theater. He also served for three years
in the U.S. Navy. A recognized leader in the area
of higher education, he brought significant strength
to his new position.
No history of the present period will be attempted,
because we are dealing with history in the making.
Day by day that story is being written for future
historians to record. Suffice it to say that from the
very beginning President Kleckner's leadership
has been dynamic. As an able executive he has
surrounded himself with a very capable staff to whom
responsibility is delegated. He possesses an ability
to communicate with students which has proved
to be an asset in these tumultuous times. He relates
well to his board. He has the confidence of the
majority of the constituency and of the community.
He has been able to solicit large-scale support
from the leaders in business and industry. Evidence
of this is the building program within the brief
time of his service — an excellent modern science
building, a new dormitory, the magnificent new
Buehler Library now in process of construction. Bold,
imaginative new programs, have been instituted,
such as the 4-1-4 program, which places an interim
semester for specialized projects in January
between two full semesters. The faculty has been
measurably strengthened and benefitted. The
enrollment has increased to unanticipated heights.
Great thought and creativity have gone into the
planning of the Elmhurst Centennial which we are
presently celebrating, and immense energy has been
devoted to the Second Century Fund in a very
difficult time. As we finish for the time being this
story of "The Elmhurst Years", it is with the con-
fidence that Elmhurst College stands ready for the
years ahead. Hopes and dreams, work and effort,
struggles and frustrations, challenge and response —
these are the stuff of life. The Elmhurst Years have
brought their full measure of each. Emerging out
of a great Christian tradition and concern, and
seeking to meet the educational needs of our country
as changing circumstances dictate, Elmhurst
College endeavors to serve, in the light of its
heritage, the century ahead.
Completion of the Science Center continued the building program
of the Decade of Development.
Elmhurst College's new $2.2 million A. C. Buehler Library
features the latest innovations in library services and repre-
sents one of the largest building projects in the College's
100-year-old history. The three-story, 70,000 square foot
library is expected to be completed by June, 1971, and will
house over 200,000 volumes, an audio-visual center and
spacious study areas.
Stanger Hall - named in honor of Christian G. and Robert C.
The facilities in Elmhurst College's $2. million proposed field house will include
a latge gymnasium, handball courts, a conective physical education unit for
handicapped persons, an Olympic size swimming pool, wrestling and weightlift-
ing rooms and classrooms. The field house, along with the new A. C. Buehler
Library and a proposed fine arts center, is designed to meet the needs of a
student body that has doubled in size during the past decade.
Elmhurst College's proposed S2.6 million fine arts center will include units for
art, music, drama, mass communications and speech correction. The center will
be one of three new buildings designed to better serve a student body that has
doubled in size during the past decade.
We are indebted to the author of "The Elmhurst Years," Dr. Robert C. Stanger, President Emeritus of Elmhurst
Born on the campus, son of Christian G. Stanger, who was professor at Elmhurst from 1898 to 1948, and an
alumnus, teacher and president of the college, Dr. Stanger's knowledge of the history of Elmhurst College is unsurpassed.
A limited number of additional copies of "The Elmhurst Years" are available for $1.00 per copy from the Public
Relations Office, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126.
Elmliurst College endeavors
to serve in tne li^nt or
tne century anead.