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Wagner College: Four Histories

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Wagner College: Four Histories

  1. 1. Wagner College: Four Histories THIR D REV I S ED ED IT I O N — M A Y 2 0 1 1 Richard Darrow Harald K. Kuehne William Ludwig Lee Manchester Walter T. Schoen Jr. Frederic Sutter with Brian Morris E D IT ED BY L E E M AN C H E ST ER
  2. 2. Wagner College: Four Histories
  3. 3. Introduction The publication of this small volume, coinciding with the 125thanniversary of the founding of Wagner College, is the first attempt atpublishing a history of the school — actually, four histories. The main contributions to this collection were written by fourauthors: Harald Kuehne, Walter Schoen, Brian Morris (ghost writingfor the Rev. Frederic Sutter) and Lee Manchester. Manchester alsoserved as the volume’s editor. These main essays were the basis of aspecial forum on Wagner College history held September 12, 2008. The collection also includes five appendices. The first, profilingthe early “direktors” (German for headmaster or president) ofWagner College, was compiled by Lee Manchester, based upon a setof profiles written by early Wagner professor William Ludwig. Thesecond appendix, describing student life at Wagner’s Rochestercampus, was written by Richard Darrow, the college’s assistantdirector of communications, for the January 1968 issue of WagnerMagazine. The remaining three appendices are tables reprinted frommaterials found in the college archives. HARALD K. KUEHNE wrote his contribution, “A Report on theReligious History of Wagner College,” for a Yale Divinity Schoolclass in May 1950, a year after he graduated from Wagner. His essaywas the earliest scholarly attempt at writing a history of the collegethat we had on file in the school’s archives. It starts off with ageneral history of the college, then focuses on an aspect of theinstitution that has changed dramatically since the 1950s: its religiouslife, orientation and affiliation. After graduating from Yale Divinity and the LutheranTheological Seminary in Philadelphia, the Rev. Harald Kuehne wascalled to become pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church inRockville Centre, Long Island, a position in which he served until hisretirement in 1989. He continues to serve as pastor emeritus at HolyTrinity. He is married to Britta (Woodbury) Kuehne, Wagner CollegeClass of 1950. “Wagner College literally saved me,” Rev. Kuehne wrote in arecent note for his annual class letter at Yale Divinity. “The war[World War II] took 4 years out of my life. My discharge wastraumatic — from the discipline of Army life to, ‘You’re on yourown, pal.’ I was a lost vet until my pastor told me to apply to a smallLutheran college on Grymes Hill, Staten Island. Half the studentbody was made up of ex-GIs. I was at home again.” viii
  4. 4. WALTER T. SCHOEN JR. wrote “The Founding of WagnerCollege and the Early Years of Its Development” in May 1957 as hisEnglish thesis “under the supervision of one of Wagner’s outstandingprofessors, Dr. Ida Everson,” he recently recalled. While he was composing his meticulously documented essay,Schoen had access to early records and minutes of the college thatcan no longer be found or no longer exist; as such, it is the onlyreliable reference we still have to many key facts concerning thecreation of Wagner College. Schoen graduated from Wagner College in 1958. He earned hismaster’s degree at Columbia University and completed doctoral andpost-doctoral work at Southern Illinois, Syracuse and New Yorkuniversities. Schoen served as president at Monticello College, anddean at Ramapo State College and Somerset County College. Now retired, he lives in Pinehurst, North Carolina. His wife,Barbara R. (Brown) Schoen (Class of 1956), died in 2006. BRIAN MORRIS, a 1965 graduate of Wagner College, workedin the Wagner College Communications Office from 1967 to 1972.In 1968, he taped a series of extensive interviews with the Rev.Frederic Sutter, founder of the modern Wagner College on StatenIsland. Morris compiled those reminiscences into a memoir that wasfirst published around 1970 as “The Evolution of an Idea: Fifty Yearson Staten Island.” Morris, retired from his position as spokesman for Staten IslandUniversity Hospital, teaches part-time at St. John’s University,whose Staten Island campus is just a stone’s throw away fromWagner College. He is currently a member of Wagner’s NationalAlumni Association Communications Committee. He lives on StatenIsland. LEE MANCHESTER is Wagner’s media relations director. Hecame to the college in 2007, bringing with him 20 years ofexperience in public relations, journalism and publishing.Manchester is the author or editor of a dozen books, eight of them onregional history. His story on how he found the last survivingdescendants of the original Wagner family, “Finding GeorgeWagner: A Historical Detective Story,” appeared in the Summer2008 issue of Wagner Magazine. Manchester is also the author of anongoing feature in Wagner Magazine on the architectural history ofthe college’s Staten Island campus. He and his wife, Jody Leavens,live on Staten Island and in Jay, New York, outside Lake Placid. ix
  5. 5. Notes on the revised edition of November 2008 After the initial publication of this book in August 2008, Ilearned that a key point in my essay, “Founding Faces and Places,”was inaccurate: The name of the elder Wagner who brought his family toRochester from Prussia in 1838 was not John George Wagner Sr., butGeorge Heinrich Wagner. My initial assumption had been based onthe inscription on George Heinrich Wagner’s tombstone, “GeorgeSr.” The fact is that George Heinrich was called “George Sr.”because his son, John George Wagner, was also referred to within thefamily as George. Wagner College’s early benefactor, John George Wagner, wasnot “John George Wagner Jr.” That name properly belongs to ourbenefactor’s son, J. George Wagner Jr., who died at the age of 19 andin whose honor the college was eventually renamed. I also learned that the wife of John George Wagner, ourbenefactor, was also his first cousin. John George’s marriage hadbeen arranged, long distance, by his father. Both this fact and thecorrect name of the eldest Wagner immigrant were disclosed in abatch of papers containing the genealogical research of John GordonMaier, a distant cousin of Margaret-Anne Milne, the great-granddaughter of John George Wagner. Upon visiting the grave of Christian Seel, in whose privatehome Wagner College was hosted for its inaugural academic year, Isaw that his tombstone claimed that he had died in 1893, though allother records agree that he died in 1895. I have found no explanationfor this contradiction. While visiting the Seel family grave site, I also learned thatChristian’s youngest son, Eduard, was of an age in 1883 that hewould undoubtedly have still been living at home when the secondfloor of his house was turned into the Lutheran Proseminary ofRochester. Finally, though I have discovered a Rochester newspaperobituary, for young George Wagner, I have still not determinedwhether or not he was enrolled at Newark Academy, a predecessor ofWagner College, at the time of his death. I had hoped that hisobituary might tell us what was his occupation at the time of hisdeath, but the accounts I found mentioned nothing about either hiswork or studies. x
  6. 6. Earlier, I had tried to find an obituary for George Wagner inone of the two Newark, N.Y. daily newspapers that were inpublication at the time of George’s death. The Newark Unionnewspaper contained no mention during the month of October 1873of the death of anyone with a name like John George Wagner Jr.Microfilms for the 1873 issues of the Newark Courier — whichappears to have been the newspaper of record for Newark, N.Y.during that period — were missing from the microfilm series held bythe Newark Public Library when I visited over the summer of 2008.Librarians told me that the original hard copies of the Courier, fromwhich the microfilms had been made, no longer existed. Lee Manchester November 11, 2008 xi
  7. 7. A report on the religious history of Wagner College by Harald K. Kuehne, May 1950 Foreword The title to this paper bears witness to its limitations: It is areport and not an exhaustive historical treatment. The study andresearch, which ought to have entailed at least a months time, werecompleted in feverish haste during a period of three days. Theapproach, therefore, is not a fully penetrating one; the analysis isneither clear-cut nor complete. As a result, the unique position whichWagner College has attained and holds today in the realm of highereducation cannot be made adequately evident to the mind of thereader solely through the means of this work. The writer has attempted to avoid misleading and mistakenconclusions and generalizations by keeping as close as possible tobasic concrete facts. The historical material was obtained largelyfrom facts and data as found in newspaper clippings, historicalcontributions and outlines, and catalogues. The contemporary pictureis presented, as the result of numerous interviews with members ofthe faculty and administration, examination of the Student ChristianAssociations minutes and files, and the writers own livingexperiences as an undergraduate student at Wagner College. A history of the college “The school had the name Wagner Memorial College, but itwas not a college in the American sense. It did not have the standard[curriculum] and was not recognized by the Regents of the State assuch. It was still a preparatory school for students of theology whosefinal examination entitled the students to the entrance in a theologicalseminary. The students who entered the college were supposed to begraduates of a Public School. They were probably 14 years old, butexceptions were made. Some were younger, some older. The Schoolhad a six years course, stretched out over six classes. In these classeswere about 23 students, who all came from German Lutherancongregations or Orphan Homes. Their mother tongue was German.So there were no difficulties as far as language was concerned.”1Such was the inauspicious position and unique make-up which this1 From “A Contribution to the History of Wagner Memorial College,” AugustusC. Redderoth, professor of Greek and General History at Wagner from 1892 to1896 (written in January 1947). 1
  8. 8. tiny institution held in the year 1892 in the city of Rochester, NewYork. Why it was established, and how it has achieved its presentposition in the realm of higher learning, is an account rightfullywithin the scope of this report on the religious history of WagnerCollege. During the year of 1883 one of the major concerns of Lutheranministers and laymen in the state of New York was the discouragingshortage of Lutheran pastors able to preach as well as conversecompetently in German. Because of recent large waves of Germanimmigrants, almost every church in the New York Ministeriumconducted services regularly in the German language, and thus arosea need for German-speaking ministers. In August of this year, theRev. Alexander Richter, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church inRochester, wrote a paper which he entitled, “From What SourcesShall We Draw our German Preachers?” Believing in action ratherthan mere words, Richter with the help of a colleague, the Rev.George H. Gomph, then pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church inPittsford, set about in gaining further support from other ministers aswell as laymen who were also interested in the establishment of asatisfactory preparatory school; such an institution, patterned afterthe German “gymnasium,” would serve as a proseminary for theeducation of young men entering the Lutheran ministry. Imbued with the realization of necessity and speedy action,Pastor Richter initiated the calling of a meeting of the RochesterPastoral Conference on October 15, 1883 for the purpose ofestablishing the required school. Present at this meeting wereRichter; Charles S. Kohler, Church of the Reformation; C.N. Conradof the Concordia Church; George H. Gomph, and Candidate GeorgeSeel. The first decision reached at this organizational gathering wasthat “the members of the Conference shall constitute the Board ofTrustees.” Mr. J.S. Margraender, a member of Zion Church, was alsoelected to the board and asked to serve as Treasurer, his initial taskbeing to carefully husband the total capital of the new institution —$10!2 The first president, Alexander Richter, was also elected by themembers of the board. Dr. Gomph was chosen as secretary, and Mr.Christian Seel, an elder of the Zion congregation, assented to givelodging to the student body of six and also provide the classrooms forthe new school in his large home. After deciding to name theinstitution “The Rochester Lutheran Proseminary,” the first meetingwas called to adjournment with a fervent plea to God for continued2 A typographical error copied from earlier accounts. The actual initial capital ofthe school was $100, a gift from supporter Justus Koch of Philadelphia. 2
  9. 9. guidance and strength. And so — with a sincere and deep convictionin the aid and purpose of the Almighty — a new venture in Christianeducation was firmly initiated. The third school year of the Lutheran Proseminary of Rochesterbegan on September 1, 1885. The new board of trustees, elected onJanuary 12 of the following year, was a most important one for it wasthis same board which was to guide the institution through its firstperiod of transition, from proseminary to college. Pastor AlexanderRichter was once again re-elected president. Mr. John G. Wagnerwas elected vice president, Frederick Schlegel was made secretary,and David Bantleon became treasurer. In March 1884, the school had moved from Mr. Seel’s home toa large building on Oregon Street, formerly occupied by the SatterleeCollegiate Institute.3 This building was for sale at $12,000, and it washoped that the proseminary might be able to secure the funds withwhich to purchase the property. To this end, a drive was institutedwhich, once it had attained $6,000, would be used as the initialpayment. By January 1886, $5,700 had been subscribed by dint ofslow and painstaking labor. On June 8, 1886, the vice president, Mr.John G. Wagner, declared to the other members of the board that heand his wife had decided to pay the entire purchase price for the newlocation. This gift was to be considered a memorial to his sonGeorge, whose determination to enter the Lutheran ministry had beenthwarted by death. The generous donation on the part of the fatherwas accepted with unrestrained joy and heartfelt thanks by themembers of the board. It was further agreed to change the name ofthe institution to Wagner Memorial Lutheran College. In spite of this great blessing, the school did not escape frommisfortune and tribulation. “It is indeed the sad experience of allinstitutions, especially the new ones, that teachers and staff are moreor less troublesome. … But God was gracious; He saved us fromdespair and helped us through.”4 In spite of the distress of its“growing pains,” the young institution successfully continued theimportant task of thorough preparatory training of acceptableGerman students for the Lutheran Theological Seminary inPhiladelphia. In 1885, the first student, Francis Hoffman, was sentfrom the Rochester proseminary to Philadelphia. In 1886, four othergraduates from Rochester joined him. The hopes and prayers ofRichter, Gomph, and all the others were now bearing fruit; the task3 An intermediate facility has been missed here. The school moved from the Seelhouse in March 1884 to a three-story brick townhouse on South Avenue. It wasnot until 1885 that the school moved into the Oregon Street building.4 From “Geschichte des New York Ministeriums,” ed. John Nicum, 1888, p. 334. 3
  10. 10. they had set upon themselves was indeed proving successful “andprospered with the aid of God.” The financial position of the college soon entered precariousstraits again. Merely a small percentage of the pecuniary supportcame from outside sources, and it soon became apparent thataccepting the demands of the growing institution was too great anundertaking for the primary benefactor, Zion Church in Rochester. Itwas felt necessary to either limit the field of labor to one phase oflearning and cut down the teaching staff, or to take a more lucrativestep in offering the school to the Evangelical Lutheran Ministeriumof New York. The question was settled in June 1888 when, at theSynod meeting at Rondout, N.Y., the proposal that Wagner Collegebe made the property of the New York Ministerium was accepted.The following June, formal and legal transfer of the school to theSynod was made at a meeting in Brooklyn. By order of the court, thenumber of trustees was increased from seven to twelve. In the fall of 1888, the Rev. Jacob Steinhaeuser of Rondout,N.Y. was called as director and charged with the internalmanagement and immediate supervision of the students. While thesix-year preparatory course [of the gymnasium curriculum] had beenretained, the institution was assuming more and more thecharacteristics of a regular American college. The greatest stress waslaid upon the study of languages. The students not only were well-grounded in Latin and Greek, in which languages dissertations werewritten weekly, they also spoke German and English with equal easeand fluency. Hebrew was taught as well as French. Much attentionwas given to the study of history, both secular and church history; tomental and moral philosophy, Christian ethics, and the usualbranches of mathematics; and to literature, science, etc. “It is just thekind of education that men must have in order to deal successfullywith our German-American citizens, be it in church, at the bar, at thesick bed, or in business.”5 In November 1893, the state of New York, on the basis of a lawpassed the previous year, attempted to force the school to omit theword “college” from its name because it did not have a $500,000endowment. Mr. Adolph J. Rodenbeck of Rochester, treasurer ofWagner’s board, was instructed to answer and appear before theregents. In his plea, Rodenbeck pointed out that by a change of namecertain valuable property which the institution had acquired — undercondition that its name should not be changed — would be placed in5 From an article on the college in the Rochester Union and Advertiser, May 19,1894. 4
  11. 11. jeopardy; that the college would be deprived of a certain residuarylegacy; that the school was legally incorporated by act of legislature,and that by a decree of the Supreme Court its name had beenchanged from proseminary to college; that the law as passed by thestate of New York in 1892 was in its nature retroactive, thusunconstitutional; and that, even granted that under the amended actthe state legislature reserved for itself the right to change the name, ithad no power to delegate that right to a second party, namely, theregents.6 Rodenbeck apparently fought a good fight; further actionwas deferred by the regents until December, when it was determinedthat the name of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College was to remainas such. By 1894 the enrollment of students had increased to its highestfigure, 45. Tuition remained low — although raised during this yearfrom $32 to $40 — while sons of Lutheran pastors and parochialschool teachers received instruction free. Board was furnished at therate of $2.50 per week. “The expenses were small. The directorreceived $2,000 and residence. Prof. Betz $800 and residence in theSchool building.7 Prof. Genzmer who lived privately, $800. Prof.Redderoth $480 with room and board in the building. Prof. Schaefferalso $480 and room and board. So the total of salaries of the teachingstaff amounted to $4,560. Let us add an equal amount for fuel, light,food, repairs, and help, etc. we have a total of expenses of about$9,000. As little as that seems to be, it was not easy to get it. TheDirector sighed once: ‘If … yes … if we could get a quarter fromevery member of the Ministerium (which numbered about 40,000),we would have $10,000. But we never got that quarter!’ ”8 A new turn in the development of the college set in when theRev. Dr. John Nicum became the acting director. At a meeting of theboard in November 1894, Director Steinhaeuser was forced to resign.Prof. Redderoth describes the incident as follows: “The day after, hetold the writer, ‘They have thrown me out like a dog!’ The Facultywas never notified of the change that was made. It was only fromstudents that we learned that Dr. Nicum had taken charge of theclasses of Pastor Steinhaeuser. He never came into the room reservedfor the faculty. His orders appeared in writing outside of the door ofthe faculty room, signed ‘John Nicum, Director of Wagner College,6 A summary of the issue was included in the Rochester Union and Advertiserarticle of May 1894.7 Dr. Palleske says that Betz lived in school only at the beginning.8 Redderoth, “A Contribution … ” 5
  12. 12. President of the Executive Committee and President of the Board ofTrustees.’ ”9 Why Steinhaeuser was dismissed and why Nicum took over theposition as head of the college is unknown. The fact remains that theschool was from then on steered in a different direction. The collegenow operated under the regents and was forced to prepare thestudents for numerous examinations — in which they excelled,compared with students of other institutions. Nicum remaineddirector for seven years. And although the number of studentsenrolled declined from one semester to the next, the board supportedhim, until enrollment fell to its lowest level of 17 students.10 It wasthen that the board decided it was time for new leadership, andelected a new director. Nicum’s venture had ended in failure. Thecollege, however, has honored his devotion and services with theerection of the Nicum Memorial Tower at the entrance of the presentAdministration Building — a memorial that was built, in part, withmoney left in John Nicum’s will for that purpose, and whichamounted nearly to the total salary he had received as director of thecollege. Following Nicum’s departure, the Rev. Joseph Rechtsteineraccepted the vacated post of leadership. He was not only director, butalso professor of Latin, Hebrew, Greek, New Testament, Ethics,Theology, Logic, and History. Under his direction as well as that ofthe Rev. Herman D. Kraeling and the Rev. John A.W. Kirsch, whofollowed him, the college continued to educate its young men alongthe original lines. At the turn of the [20th] century, in 1904, “owing tofinancial difficulties, the institution found itself in a very precariouscondition.” But its cry for assistance did not go unheeded. A numberof extremely generous donations were made, and on May 14, 1908— just 25 years since its humble beginning — an anniversary servicewas held in the mother church [Zion] in Rochester, and a campaignwas launched that resulted successfully in the raising of $19,000 as aSilver Jubilee Fund. Another significant development was in the offing. As early as1901, pastors and laymen connected with Wagner College had feltthat a change of location for the school was highly desirable. Alongwith a move to a more commendable site, it was urged that there be a9 From Augustus C. Redderoth, op. cit.10 An enrollment table compiled in 1954 from college catalogues and registrar’srecords show the enrollment statistics as being somewhat less disastrous thanthis. During Nicum’s tenure as director, enrollment fluctuated between 45 and 31students; the lowest enrollment since 1886, 25 students, was not posted until 2years after Nicum’s departure. 6
  13. 13. broadening in the field of the institution and a change in some of itspolicies. Coincidental with this was the strong recommendation madeby a group of Staten Island residents — including the Rev. FredericSutter,11 pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Edmond Schaefer, andE.C. Meurer — that the borough of Richmond of New York City bethe college’s new home. The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce,through Cornelius G. Kolff, also voiced approval, promised itssupport, and acknowledged the fact that the college would be a stepof progress for the island community. At length, on October 25,1916, at a special meeting in Utica, N.Y., the Synod decided that thecollege be moved, and accordingly passed a resolution authorizing acampaign for $100,000 which sum was to be used to purchase afeasible site in the southern part of the state of New York.Meanwhile, negotiations had been afoot for the acquisition of theCunard estate atop Grymes Hill on Staten Island. And in September1917, this property — totaling 38 acres and four buildings12 — waspurchased at the cost of $63,000. Most of the remaining funds wereinvested in the additional acquisition of the adjoining JacobVanderbilt estate of 15 acres.13 In 1918, therefore, Wagner College with an enrollment of 16students14 bade farewell to its Rochester home and took up its newquarters on Staten Island. On the second highest point along the coastbetween Maine and Florida, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, thegreat New York harbor and the Brooklyn and lower Manhattanskyline, the new site was an ideal one. At the crossroads of the world,yet situated in a setting of natural beauty and suburban tranquility,11 Sutter first served on the board from 1906 to 1909. From 1897 to 1907, he waspastor of Emanual Lutheran Church in Hudson, N.Y. He became pastor at TrinityStaten Island in 1907. It was not until 1916 that Sutter was elected once again tothe college board of directors.12 The estate contained six usable buildings, actually, including the gatehousecottage and the car barn.13 Not completely accurate. In addition to the $63,000 purchase price for theacreage and the existing buildings, another $43,000 was spent remodeling twosummer cottages on the property and building a new home for the collegepresident. The Synod raised $70,000, and the remaining $40,000 was secured bya mortgage. Wagner College did not buy the adjacent 19-acre Vanderbilt propertyfor another 4 or 5 years, on March 7, 1922; the alumni agreed to pay for theproperty, and ownership was later transferred to the college itself.14 This oft-quoted figure conflicts with that shown in a compilation of enrollmenttotals from catalogues and registrar’s records: In October 1918, the first semesterafter the move to Staten Island, there were 42 students enrolled in the 6-yeargymnasium program. Perhaps 16 students came along with the school fromRochester, and 26 more registered for the first year on Staten Island. 7
  14. 14. Wagner’s present campus of 72 hilltop acres15 has been called themost unique of any in the United States. Wagner has become thecenter of learning for its community of over 250,000 people. Wagneris Staten Island’s first college. The move from Rochester was a wise step. Not only did itresult in material expansion and the acquisition of a remarkable site,but it awakened a new enthusiasm for the college. Spurred on by therealization of new responsibilities in the face of almost limitlesspotentialities, students, members of the administration and faculty,trustees and alumni responded in toto to the task now set beforethem. Nor was the church incognizant of the new significance ofWagner, and its first response was one of sharply awakened interest.But with a growing student body largely from Staten Island and themetropolitan area of New York, sweeping changes were of necessityin order. One of the initial steps taken, after academic activitiesopened in the Cunard estate buildings on the hill, was to abandon the6-year gymnasium type of curriculum and institute the regular 4-yearAmerican college plan; a 4-year high school course initiated theWagner High School, which was discontinued in 1932. The need tofunction in a broader way educationally led to a further overhaulingand reconstruction of the curriculum. Without lessening Christianemphases, subjects and courses of instruction were enriched andextended into the major fields of interest of not only prospectivestudents of theology, but also for those planning other professions.Courses leading to degrees of both bachelor of arts and bachelor ofscience were introduced; major fields of study were broadened sothat today they prepare students interested in business, dentistry,engineering, journalism, law, medicine, ministry, music, parish work,physical education, social work, teaching, and veterinary medicine.In 1931, scholastic standards were raised, and the college became afully accredited member of the Middle Atlantic States Association ofColleges and Secondary Schools.16 In 1933, women were enrolled forthe first time, and they now constitute nearly a third of the studentbody. At the present, Wagner College also confers the degrees ofassociate in arts and associate in applied science and, for the first15 In December 1941, 10 acres of land adjoining the campus were given to thecollege by Philip Berolzheimer. In 1949, Wagner added again to its campus inpurchasing Oneata, the 18-acre estate of General William Green Ward, an areathat was to become known as “West Campus” and today houses the footballstadium. Those two additions brought the total acreage of the college to morethan 75 acres.16 A year later, however, Wagner’s accreditation was suspended. It was not until1936 that accreditation was restored. 8
  15. 15. time in its history, will offer courses leading to the degree of masterof arts when the summer session opens July 2, 1951. Although Wagner’s past history has been one of unceasingstruggle in the face of adverse circumstances, its future necessitatescontinued surveillance, for it seems destined to be a bright andfruitful one. At the present time, the institution is seeking to procurefunds for a new gymnasium and women’s dormitory,17 which will beready for use by September 1951. Through the United LutheranChurch’s Christian Higher Education Year appeal, the college willreceive $350,000, all to be raised among New York Synodcongregations. Although the commendable results of the CHEYdrive place no special obligations on the school, Wagner must needsgain thereby a renewed sense of moral obligation and responsibilityto the church under whose auspices the money is being raised. Thecollege’s indebtedness to the church is not a financial one, rather onewhich realizes that — even today — the church is willing to servethe college. The college, in turn, bears the responsibility of servingthe church in every way possible and academically feasible! The alumni of the college Wagner College’s alumni — about 1,200 living — havecontributed in many immeasurable ways to the religious welfare oftheir respective communities. Throughout the years, 338 graduates ofWagner have entered the Lutheran ministry. Of this number, 158 arenow serving the United Lutheran Synod of New York, and 107 are inthe service of the church elsewhere. There are 18 graduates on suchfaculties as Muhlenberg and Roanoke colleges, the universities ofColumbia, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, Mary Baldwin,Westminster and Denver. The Rev. George Aus, Class of 1925, isprofessor of practical theology at Luther Seminary, and the Rev.Theodore Tappert, Class of 1926, is professor of church history at theLutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. As a further criterion of itsleadership, five of the seven conference presidencies of the Synodare now occupied by Wagner alumni. In and outside the UnitedLutheran Church, Wagnerians are participating in a wide variety ofreligious activities: Mr. Henry Endress, Class of 1938, is secretary ofstewardship for the ULC. The Rev. Carl Koppenhaver, Class of1943, one of the leading men in the field of religious journalism, iseditor of the United Lutheran Publishing House bulletin service anddirector of the ULC’s News Service. The Rev. William Villaume,Class of 1935, has been elected executive secretary of the17 Sutter Gymnasium and Guild Hall. 9
  16. 16. Department of the Urban Church of the National Council ofChurches of Christ in the U.S.A. Dr. Frederick Reissig, executivesecretary of the Washington (D.C.) Council of Churches, wasgraduated from Wagner in 1914. The Rev. John Futchs, Class of1927, has served as president of the Rocky Mountain Synod. TheRev. Carl Futch, Class of 1924, is director of the Lutheran WelfareAssociation of New Jersey. The Rev. Herman F. Reissig, Class of1920, is on the Council for Social Action of the CongregationalChristian Churches. Everett Jensen, Class of 1940, is a missionary inHawaii. Oscar Werner, Class of 1906, and Mildred Ernst, Class of1944, are serving in India. Wagner graduates are serving as chaplainsin hospitals and other institutions, as well as in the armed forces. Atthe present time, there are 56 students enrolled at the college who arepreparing for the ministry: 48 are Lutheran, 6 are Episcopalian, and 2are Moravian. It might be noted that during the 1920s, virtually theentire student body was preparing for the Christian ministry; today,only about 5 percent of the students are preparing for the pastorate,18yet this percentage includes a greater number of students than the100 percent of 30 years ago.19 The emergence and activities of the college’s Student Christian Association It was not until the late 1920s that Wagner’s student enrollmentcame to include a fair number of individuals not planning to enter theChristian ministry. Thus it is not until 1930 that a “religiousassociation” serving and fulfilling the spiritual needs of all studentswas brought into being. This association, called “The LampadiaCouncil,” was founded through the initiative of Prof. Willis StuartHinman. It functioned in a comparatively loose manner. Althoughevery student automatically became a member by the very fact of hisenrollment in the college, the group often took on the appearance of aLutheran student organization headed and run by Lutherans.Although Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist students were alsomembers, there was great difficulty in electing non-Lutheran studentsto office. (On one occasion, three Lutherans were purposely placedon the same ballot along with one non-Lutheran nominee, but with illsuccess, for one of the Lutherans still won the office.) Religiousactivities during the 16 years of the Lampadia Council’s existencewere many and varied: chapel services were held five times a week,special services on such occasions as Christmas, or Thanksgiving18 Actually, the percentage was more like 2.9.19 Almost, but not quite. Registration from 1918 through 1929 ran from 42students to 134. 10
  17. 17. Day; during the Lenten season, discussion groups were invited tomeet at Dr. Hinman’s home; Bible study groups were active in thedormitories; a social service committee made occasional visits to theStaten Island Old Peoples’ Home; arrangements were made for theorchestra and singing group to visit the Staten Island, Marine,Richmond Memorial, and St. Vincent’s hospitals. (The reception atSt. Vincent’s was always the most cordial and welcome of all, for theCatholic sisters cheerfully worked with the singers from the very topto the bottom floor, and invariably treated them to coffee and cake.)The proportionately large number of pre-seminarians were under thedirect guidance of Prof. Hinman; he often took them to his church,where they assisted in the liturgy and worked with the young people;a number were also placed in Luther League and Sunday Schoolpositions; the pre-seminarians met as a group at least once a month,usually to hear prominent and worthy speakers address them on avariety of subjects. A high spot in one series of talks was when Mr.Henry Beisler, and Mr. S.F. Tilleen, then vice president of the ChaseNational Bank, spoke on the spiritual needs of the layman. Non-preministerial students were readily admitted and welcomed to thisgroup of young men — and often came to enter a Lutheran seminaryalong with their fellows. With an enrollment of 100 to 250 students during these 16years,20 it was certainly a comparatively less arduous task to exert areligious influence over the student body than today. By 1945, as thestudent population had increased and grown less intact, as therepresentatives of the various faiths became more numerous, theinadequacy of the Lampadia Council in its organization and itscarrying out of its responsibility to the religious life of the campusbecame clearer and more marked. The following excerpts from theminutes of the Lampadia Council give sufficient evidence of thedetermined steps taken to alleviate the causes of an unwholesomeand unhealthy situation: Oct. 10, 1945 — It has been brought to the attention of the Council that not enough is being done for the religious life of the campus. The following suggestions were made in relation to this: a good discussion to be held once a month led by a prominent, well-versed man; put books on library shelves related to the topic of the month; create an interest in these discussions. Feb. 4, 1946 — A report was given by Mr. Ahrend and Miss Dickert concerning a meeting they had had with Dr. Langsam20 Low enrollment during this period was 117 students (1932); high, 510 students(1942). 11
  18. 18. [president of the college] and Pastor Heiges [then Lutheran Student Association pastor at Columbia University]. Dr. Langsam felt some reorganizing should be done in Lampadia, so that its work would be more far-reaching and successful. The matter was discussed, and it was decided that the whole council should meet with Dr. Langsam to see what could be done. Feb. 11, 1946 — A special meeting of the whole Council with Dr. Langsam was held, and after much discussion it was decided that the Lampadia Council act as an Executive committee for a campus Student Christian Association. Contact is to be made with the Rev. Heiges concerning affiliation with this Movement. March 4, 1946 — Mr. Ahrend gave a full report of the Student Christian Movement as a result of a meeting with Pastor Heiges. The Constitution Committee will meet in connection with this, drawing up a constitution after the form of the SCA. April 8, 1946 — The SCA constitution of Gettysburg [College] was read, and it was voted that we accept it as our own, with certain minor changes to suit our situation at Wagner. May 6, 1945 — The new SCA constitution has been adopted by the present council. The next step is to get the approval of the Student Body and then call together all who are interested in the new religious organization. The Lampadia Council will function as the executive committee of the group, but on a different basis from previously. The establishment of a Student Christian Association at WagnerCollege marked a turning point in the voluntary religious activityprogram of the student body. It was a step toward a more democraticrepresentation, not only of the various faiths of the campuscommunity, but also of the student population as a whole. Nationalaffiliation impressed upon members of the new organization a fuller,deeper sense of responsibility in terms of achievement, effectivenessand universality. They were now part of a worldwide movement. Afeeling of security and unity, coupled with a sense of workingtogether with other campus SCAs throughout the nation and theworld, made for an invigorated and re-strengthened organizationwhich soon was to carry out its aims forcefully and energetically. Itspurpose was clear and unhesitating: To lead students to faith in God through Christ; to promote them into active relationship with the church; to promote their growth in Christian faith and character, especially through prayer and the study of the Bible; to influence them to devote themselves in united effort with all Christians to make the will 12
  19. 19. of Christ effective in human society and to extend the Kingdom of God throughout the world.21 There is little doubt that the Student Christian Association atWagner College wields a remarkably great influence on the campus.It is, in and by itself, the strongest single student organization interms of publicity, activity and range of effectiveness. A glance at the varied and many functions of Wagner’s SCAduring the 1949-50 school year will quickly dispel any misgivingsconcerning the important and strategic place which this religiousorganization holds in the student life of the college. Twice during themonth the SCA has regularly scheduled meetings at which memberslisten to, and participate in, meaningful and worthy discussions andtalks, led or given by faculty members and outside speakers;attendance at these evening gatherings on the hill average 80. TheSCA has taken direct action in providing entertainment for studentsremaining on campus on weekends when no other school event istaking place; dancing on Friday and Saturday evenings, at no charge,was sponsored by the Association; a series of Friday night moviesfeaturing such highly rated films as “Stanley and Livingston,” “Songof Bernadette” and “Bell for Adano” was presented. Another activityof the SCA is the establishment and maintenance of a campusSunday School designed for children of faculty members andstudents; two Wagner students are in charge of two classes. In 1949,the Association voted to bring a Displaced Person22 pre-seminarian toWagner College; members of the SCA asked church congregationsand organizations for the necessary funds; the success of this venturehas enabled Karl Lantee of Estonia to come to the United States; hebegan studies at Wagner in September 1949. On March 1, 1950, a Christian Career Conference was held atthe college. The day’s program began with a special chapel service atwhich the speaker was the Rev. David H. Bremer, secretary of theBoard of Education of the United Lutheran Church in America. Laterin the day, Pastor Bremer and his associate, Miss Mildred Winston,spoke in several classes on the topics of “Church Vocations for Men”and “Church Vocations for Women,” respectively. Also participatingin the program were Dr. Michael Rapp, chief gynecologist andobstetrician at the Staten Island Hospital, Mr. Frank L. Egner,president of Funk & Wagnalls, and Prof. Margaret Gram, head of theDepartment of Home Economics at Queens College.21 From Article II of the constitution of the Student Christian Association ofWagner College.22 As European refugees displaced by World War II were called. 13
  20. 20. The 1950 Lenten season was Wagner College’s period of“religious emphasis.” A special and strenuous effort was made toinduce all members of the Wagner community to attend every chapelservice, particularly the Friday services, which featured clergymenknown for their concern for the problems facing the young people oftoday. Included were the Rev. Dr. Frederick R. Knubel, president ofthe United Lutheran Synod of New York, the Rev. Conrad Reisch ofBridgeport, Conn., and the Rev. Dr. Russell F. Auman of Manhattan.Also on the religious emphasis program was the distribution ofdevotional guides, and the setting aside of Wednesday evenings toBible study. As part of its regular plan of activity, the SCA conducts vesperservices every Tuesday and Thursday evening. These services are ledby students. The Association has been well represented at a number ofconferences, such as the spring SCM Conference at Troy, N.Y., theLeadership Training Conference at Camp Dudley and the Silver BayConference Center, and the Leadership Training Conference atHoliday Hills. Active SCA members who have attended any numberof these conferences and who have had courses in religion act asleaders in the six Bible study groups that function on campus. Since 1947, the SCA has been the driving force behindWagner’s Campus Community Chest drive, which is held each year.The offer by the Association of its services was approved by theStudent Council in 1947, and since then the SCA has done most ofthe organization work and carried the major burden of responsibilityfor the success of the drive. Highlighting the campaigns of the pasttwo years has been a full-sized carnival in which all student groups,clubs, and fraternities and sororities, as well as faculty members,fully participate. The SCA also sponsors boat rides up the Hudson River to BearMountain, and it initiated the making of therapeutic aids for theLutheran Inner Mission of Brooklyn, N.Y. A final activity is clearly revealed in the following notereceived from the Augustinian Academy, secludedly locatedimmediately adjacent to the Wagner campus: Dear Students of Wagner College, We want to thank those young men and women who sang carols for the students of the Augustinian Academy. They certainly showed the true and blessed spirit of Christmas. We wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We, the Students 14
  21. 21. The Student Christian Association exists as the only studentreligious organization at Wagner College. As such, it has the sincereand hearty support of the administration, and is cognizant —although not always fully appreciative — of that support. TheAssociation has virtually full priority on the matter of dates offunctions; its calendar of events is made up before that of anyfraternity, sorority or club. Under the guidance of the collegechaplain, it is in many respects a growing force whose youth isdisguised by the central and strategic role that it truly plays. SCAleaflets, bulletins and posters are found everywhere, carryingannouncements of chapel programs, names of visiting speakers andpreviews of social and religious gatherings. Officers of theAssociation are a hustling, determined and earnest group ofundergraduates, who occasionally have little patience with theproblems the administration must needs face in its efforts to meetSCA demands. One urgent need, for example, is that of a permanent chapelserving only religious purposes; the present chapel must of necessityserve also as examination room, theater, basketball court and dancefloor. This situation cannot be altered until the building program iscompleted. A perplexing and challenging problem which Wagner’s SCAfaces today — and will continue to face — is one involving the non-Protestant representation within the student body. Of about 960students: • 27 percent are Catholic; • 5 percent are of the Jewish faith; • 37 percent are Lutheran — and this latter percentage will undoubtedly increase when the college acquires more dormitory space for out-of-town students; • 31 percent come from all other Protestant denominations. Requests for a Newman Club have been denied, as have thosefor a Lutheran Student Association and similar denominationalorganizations. A Staten Island Newman Club for Collegiate Studentshas been formed, but must exist as an off-campus group withresulting mediocre success. A Lutheran Student Association exists in name only — that is,it is not officially recognized, and its membership participates only inoff-campus activities sponsored by the Lutheran Student Federationof Metropolitan New York. The foregoing circumstances are largelythe result of the fact that “it has been the traditional policy of WagnerCollege that all students work together religiously, and to discourage 15
  22. 22. the splitting up of the student body into different religious loyalties,”said the Rev. Paul John Kirsch, Wagner College chaplain. It cannot be denied that such a policy has been determined bythe sincere and thoughtful efforts of the administration to provide themost effective and integrated program of voluntary religious activity.There are, however, two distinct circumstances that bear out thedifficulties which this policy entails: First, the Student ChristianAssociation often finds itself existing as a Lutheran club in disguise,primarily because such a large percentage of Lutheran students liveon the campus and thus are more readily available for participation inany and all activities. Second, and more of a cause rather than aresult of the preceding problem, is the fact that so few Catholicstudents participate in and support SCA activities. Positive steps have been taken to alleviate both of these ratherdisturbing and unwholesome situations. Indeed, there have beenmany non-Lutheran students who have been more active in the SCAthan Lutheran students, but the former have constituted exceptions tothe general picture. Efforts to bring Catholics into active participationin SCA activities have been thwarted by the consistent refusal of thegreat majority of these students to cooperate; needless to say, a verysmall percentage of them attend chapel services. The chaplain, the guidance director, and the Department of Religion and Philosophy Wagner College has a full-time chaplain for students. He is theRev. Paul John Kirsch, who directs an extensive program ofcounseling, the Student Christian Association, and chapel services.Until February 1949, Pastor Kirsch was both chaplain and associateprofessor of religious studies, and was then relieved of his teachingduties, giving him the opportunity of devoting all his time and effortsto the position of chaplaincy. He also serves on a number ofcommittees: Admissions, Chapel, Dormitory and Student Relations,Library, and Synod Relations; he is an elected faculty member on theWagner College Council, serves on the Board of Traditions as wellas the Board of Religious Activities, and is an advisor to the pre-ministerial students. Any student, upon making application for admission to WagnerCollege, becomes immediately acquainted with the emphasis placedon the development of Christian character. A personal interview withthe director of admissions is immediately followed by a talk withPastor Kirsch, who makes clear and concrete the college’s hope anddesire that the applicant will add to the religious life of the campus.The prospective student is informed of a prescribed course in 16
  23. 23. religion; he is made aware of the fact that Wagner stands forChristian ideals, that Christianity is lived in and outside of thecollege classrooms. Chapel attendance is not compulsory, but “allstudents are expected (and urged) to attend chapel regularly.” Theapplicant is given every opportunity by the chaplain to raisequestions, to consider and to evaluate the step he is taking inchoosing Wagner as his college. Pastor Kirsch, a graduate of Wagner College, Class of 1933,and of the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia, preaches at least oncea week at the morning chapel exercises, and also at most of the“Church on the Hill” services held on one Sunday during the month.He has his own private office, conveniently located in a quiet part ofthe main building. His home, which is located immediately on thecampus, is open to all students at all times, and is known for the“only good cup of coffee on Grymes Hill.” Another aspect of the college’s concern for the individualstudent is the guidance program under the direction of Dr. John E.Crawford. As director of guidance and vocational counseling, Dr.Crawford reorganized and now coordinates all student guidancefacilities. He is consultant to the faculty on classroom problems, tothe student body as a whole, and to individuals. He has nothingdirectly to do with discipline, but is regularly consulted by theDean’s Office. All students are encouraged to become as self-directing and self-reliant as possible. Dr. Crawford never sends for astudent; rather, he waits for students to come to his office on theirown initiative; then he simply discusses the facts of the problem theyoung person may have, and attempts to leave the final decision tothe individual concerned. The whole guidance program is correlatedclosely with the chaplain’s office, the health department, and otheradministrative offices. The Religion and Philosophy Department of Wagner College isheaded by Prof. Viljo K. Nikander, who, with associate professors,has integrated a new course, “Religion and Life,” into thecurriculum. In February 1949, the Department of Religion wascombined with the Department of Philosophy for the purpose of “notso much bringing philosophy under the wing of religion, butprecisely to integrate two departments which more specifically couldfoster the Christian purpose of the college,” Prof. Nikander said. Thisreorganization also included a strengthening factor in that thecombined staff of the new department came to include fourprofessors holding Ph.D. degrees teaching full-time, and one Ph.D.and one Th.D. teaching part-time. The religion and philosophysection is considered the basic department of the college, for it serves 17
  24. 24. to integrate in various ways the contributions to the field of learningmade by the other departments. In the near future, regular informalget-togethers with members of all other departments will be initiatedin order to stimulate and facilitate a profitable and wholesomeexchange of ideas. Prof. Nikander said, “In the teaching of philosophy andreligion, we seek to give the student some principle with which tounify his entire college studying and career. We seek to enable astudent to see a true unity in the education he receives.” In a step toimplement this desire, a new 6-hour course in religion has beeninstituted, supplanting the previous course of instruction consistingof a semester of Old Testament and a semester of “The Life ofChrist.” Insight into the new course is presented in the followingoutline loosely connected with liberal use of quotations: RELIGION AND LIFE Foreword: This course, entitled Religion 1-2, is the outcome of what the authors believe to be a unique endeavor. We know of no other book which does the kind of thing we hope to do, and that is to find a way by which Christianity can become, not just another course in religion, but significant for the student’s own life. Factual, historical, and systematic study of religion and of Christianity is not neglected. Every effort will be made, however, to indicate the vital connection religion has or should have with man’s everyday experiences in both personal and collective living. George W. Hackman Charles W. Kegley Viljo K. Nikander The nature of religion: The aim of this course: The purpose of Religion 1 is to give the student some understanding of the meaning of religion. In view of the fact that objections are sometimes raised to a required course in religion, this introduction tries to clarify the importance and place of religion in life and in the college curriculum. The main body of the course is concerned with presenting the essentials of the Christian heritage which has been the common foundation of the history, civilization and culture of the western world. I. Why religion, why study religion, why study the Christian faith II. The nature of religion III. Ways of knowing religion IV. How the Bible came to be: origin of literature contained in the Bible 18
  25. 25. V. The meaning of the Old Testament: its important teachings; Moses; prophetic Judaism; transition to the New Testament. (Required Bible readings)VI. The life of Jesus: background of the world out of which Christianity arose; the Greco-Roman cultural setting; major events in the life of Jesus. (Required Bible readings)VII. God: from animism to theism; the Christian view of GodVIII. Man: what is he; his plight and possibilities as God’s creatureIX. God’s work of salvation: the incarnation of divine love; the cross as the supreme expression of divine loveReligion in life: The aim: Religion 2 is devoted to theapplication of religion and of religious ideals to everyday living.The relevance of religion to all the important areas of personaland collective life is considered. Following an analysis of themajor aspects and trends of contemporary life and civilizationand a presentation of the more significant rival faiths, weendeavor to show that the Christian faith and ideals willprovide the more adequate answer to the individual and socialproblems of our generation.The question facing us now is: How can religion be applied tocontemporary life? It is generally agreed that our individualand collective life today is far from healthy. Ours is, in short, asick civilization. We propose, therefore, first of all, to diagnosethe patient — our civilization — to discover the state of itshealth or illness. Secondly, we shall examine some of therepresentative remedies that are being offered. Finally, weshall endeavor to indicate that Christianity is the only adequateway to the restoration of the health of man.I. Important trends and characteristics of contemporary civilization — in following spheres of life: economic, political, social, cultural. (Required readings: from works of Harry Emerson Fosdick, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Amos N. Wilder, D. Elton Trueblood, John C. Bennett, et al.)II. Some proposed answers to modern man’s needs given “in an ascending scale, ranging from the less important and less commendable to the more effective and satisfying.” — Escapism, irrationalism, authoritarianism, scientism, non-Christian religion (viz. Hinduism), characteristics and defects discussed as with Buddhism, Muhammedanism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism. (Required readings: Robert M. Hutchins, Adolf Hitler, Frederick West, Nels F.S. Ferre, et al.)III. The Christian solution: Religion applied to individual life; relationship of religion to the individual; the role of religion in the creation of wholesome personality in the four major interests of every man, viz. thinking, working, 19
  26. 26. play, love. (Required readings from : Martin Luther, Elton Trueblood, William Temple, John E. Crawford, et al.) Conclusion: The effort has been made to show the positive contributions of religion to four major aspects of human life. Recognizing that so much of life fails to become what it can and should be, we may summarize something of what we have learned by saying that (1) thinking should not be merely observing and adjusting to environment but creative intelligence seeking adequate means for proper ends; (2) working should not be mere labor but the sense of joy in a vocation; (3) play should not be mere relaxation but re- creation; (4) love should not be mere physical activity but physical, mental, and spiritual mutuality. Thinking, working, playing, and loving, thus properly understood, and inspired by religion, can give to any individual’s life something of the symphonic beauty and power which God intended that it possess. IV. Religion applied to collective life: in the economic life, in the political life, social life Beside the above year course, “Religion and Life,” which everycandidate for the A.B. or B.S. degree must take, four other courses inreligion are offered: “The History of Religions” (a comparative studyof the religions of the world), “Major Christian Beliefs,”“Archaeology and the Bible,” and “Sacred Literature” (a study ofOld Testament lyrics and psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, passagesfrom the Gospel of John, etc.).Specifically, and point by point — how does Wagner fulfill itsdistinctive function and responsibility as a Christian college? First, under “Aims and Policies,” Wagner’s catalogue gives abrief, clear-cut statement and understanding of ideals and goals: Wagner College is a Christian college, affiliated with the United Lutheran Church in America through the United Lutheran Synod of New York. As such, it encourages the growth of Christian convictions and their application to everyday living. The college believes that the purpose of education is to help each student develop his intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, physical, and social abilities. It seeks to familiarize the student with the major branches of knowledge, to help him attain proficiency in one or more fields, and to stimulate critical and creative thought. It stresses the opportunities and obligations of the student as a member of society within a worldwide community. In order to facilitate the pursuit of these aims, Wagner College has always emphasized the selection of faculty 20
  27. 27. members who are qualified not only by training and experience but by virtue of their character and their ability as teachers. Good teaching is a primary concern of the entire administration and faculty.Not only are these aims made clear by means of the college bulletin,but also by verbal and public declaration to each entering student,and alumni members. The aims and policies as stated above areimplemented in numerous ways, particularly by a Department ofReligion and Philosophy that makes clear to its students that religionand education belong together, and seeks to make religion integral inthe curriculum. Second, Wagner provides curricularly for courses in religionthat reach every student, without exception. Through the efforts of amost capable and competent group of staff members, religion is“dispassionately appraised and passionately expressed.” A specificknowledge of religion is basically and fundamentally taught;challenging and controversial issues of the various faiths areoccasionally hit upon, but the student is given ample freedom toaccept or reject as his own conscience and belief see fit. Highacademic standards and discipline are maintained, and the professorsof religion and philosophy hold the expressed desire that theirdepartment occupy an integral place in the undergraduate curriculum. Third, the college does provide concern for the kind of faculty itemploys. It insists upon teachers and administrators who areprofessionally competent and possess Christian convictions. Theconstitution of the college contains the requirement that everymember of the faculty declare membership “in some one church.”The college’s attempt to provide high-quality education is reflectedin the fact that almost half of the faculty holds title to the Ph.D.degree. Finally, there is a positive desire and attempt on the part offaculty and administrative personnel not only to do a first-rateintellectual job, but to live a life and set an example that upholds andpreaches Christ. Fourth, the institution does provide opportunity for corporateworship in a number of ways. During the chapel services — andthese are always earnest services of worship — on Monday,Wednesday and Friday mornings, all provisions are made to impressupon the student the fact that he is expected to attend. No officialfunction or formal gathering is permitted at this time; with the tollingof the chapel bell, the sandwich shop is closed along with alladministrative offices. Although attendance at chapel is notcompulsory, clear evidence is given that the religious training and theopportunity for meditation that the chapel service offers are 21
  28. 28. considered to be of primary importance. On Wednesday evenings,for the benefit of night school students, all classes are excused at7:30 p.m. — 25 minutes ahead of schedule — to permit attendance atnight chapel services. Vesper services are held both Tuesday andThursday evenings. “Church on the Hill” services take place on oneSunday morning of each month; and, on other Sundays, a specialschool bus transports students to and from Trinity Lutheran Church. Fifth, Wagner actively sponsors a voluntary program ofreligious activities under the direction of an officially appointed andcompetently trained officer. The Student Christian Association,under the guidance of Chaplain Kirsch, is the sole and centralchannel of religious activity on the Wagner campus, and receivesstrong and evident support from the administration. Despite thedesire and the attempt of the SCA for an ecumenical representation,the Association has been unable to cope with the problem created bythe refusal of the great majority of Catholic students to support itsefforts and activities. Sixth, the college provides for a fostering of religious and moralvalues in all administrative functions. The student body, through theStudent Association, is provided with a democratic means ofregulating student activities and of advancing student interests. Everyattempt is made to impress upon each student the responsibility hebears as an individual as regards his conduct on and off the campus.Although the use of alcoholic beverages is forbidden at any and allon-campus activities, its use and the responsibility for its use at anyoff-campus affair is borne by the fraternity, sorority or clubsponsoring the activity. Unsatisfactory conduct is dealt with strictly,yet with a Christian understanding of the needs and problems of theindividual. A counseling plan is provided by the offices of thepresident, the dean, the chaplain and the director of guidance, allattempting to individualize to an extremely remarkable extent theindividual student, to give unlimited guidance to the student in thelight of his own disturbing problems, be they economic, moral orspiritual. Seventh, the administration and faculty put their influence andsupport on religious ideas in an intelligent way. Religion is felt tohave its proper basic place in the academic, social and spiritual life ofthe campus community, but it is not lugged into places where it doesnot belong. Academic freedom is limited only by the concern thecollege has for the kind of faculty it employs; in other words, inalmost every case, a faculty member by the very fact of hisacceptance to the college faculty will express views that are notmerely neutral but indeed pro-Christian. The religious view of 22
  29. 29. Wagner is definitely not a narrow one, but rather “a liberating andliberalizing one,” one that is, at its heart, intellectually defensible.The college is church-related, but not church-controlled. All propertyis owned by the Board of Trustees. The United Lutheran Synod ofNew York does nominate 12 of the 21 trustees of the college, butthese nominees must then be elected by the board. The other 9trustees are chosen by the board itself and by the alumni; these 9 aresubmitted to the Synod for its approval, but they are again elected bythe board itself. The Lutheran Synod does give the college an annualfinancial grant, but the institution does remain “entirely free ofoutside control except insofar as public opinion is a healthy check onany institution,” wrote Wagner College President Walter C. Langsamin a recent letter. “We are responsible only to the State EducationDepartment, as is every other college — public, independent orchurch-controlled — in the state of New York.” Conclusion The writer cannot deny that the picture he has drawn of Wagneris indeed a bright one. Negative aspects and criticisms may wellseem lacking — not, however, because such has been the writer’spurpose. On the contrary, he has sought to be fully critical, yet hasfound it unreasonable and grossly misleading to make a negativegeneralization simply because, for example, one member of thefaculty happens, on occasion, to act “un-Christian” due to a headacheor the effects of an ulcer. As a graduate of the college [Class of 1949], the writer mayneeds admit to an overall biased view. He has known its intimacyand warmth. He will always be indebted to the many members of thefaculty whose guidance and words of inspiration have brought him toseek the fullness and wonders that human life offers. By virtue ofattendance at other institutions of higher learning, the writer has beenin a position to compare and appreciate Wagner’s Christianatmosphere. He met his wife at this college. Furthermore — andfinally — were anyone ever to inquire what gave him the initial andmost forceful impetus to enter the Christian ministry, his immediateand only reply would be: My three years as a student at WagnerCollege. 23
  30. 30. The founding of Wagner College and the early years of its development by Walter Thomas Schoen Jr., May 1957 In the latter half of the 19th century, a sweeping wave ofimmigrants descended on the shores of the United States. This delugeincluded peoples from all over the world. Not unimportant amongthem were people of Germanic origin who flocked to all sections ofthe country. In the upper half of New York state, many thousands ofGerman immigrants settled down to the problem of making their wayin a strange new world. Their way of living was different from that ofthe people already established. If there was, however, any one thingthe immigrants had in common with the Americans, it was religion.Perhaps they worshiped in a different way, but the God to Whomthey prayed was nevertheless the same God. And it was to this Godthat the Germans looked in their efforts to succeed, to prosper, and tofind contentment. For if there is one universal to Whom all men turnin their need, it is the God they worship. In addition to the difference in their customs, language, andideas, the Germans were also faced with the need of finding anunderstanding minister to whom they might go for advice and solace.There were, of course, Lutheran ministers in New York state whowere not unaware of the immigrants’ needs, as evidenced by thefollowing statement: From every direction comes an urgent demand for German- speaking ministers. Not only on the broad expanse of the German home mission, not only in the far West among those who have recently immigrated, and who are like sheep without a shepherd (I Kings 22:17; Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34), but also in the East, which has been settled for so long a time. … In truth, everywhere in America there is a lack of capable Lutheran preachers who are not only able to make themselves understood in German in time of necessity, but who, also, because of having an indispensable acquaintance with the language, customs, and habits of the country, are the complete masters of the German language, and are able to comply with the obviously reasonable demand of German congregations that the Word of God and Luther’s interpretation of it be preached to them in Luther’s tongue, with acceptable comprehension and edification. – “Article II: Aim” from the Constitutional By-laws of the Lutheran Proseminary of Rochester, 1885 24
  31. 31. As indicated by this excerpt, New York was not the onlysection of the United States that required able ministers.Pennsylvania was also aware of the existing conditions in the church.In 1882, the Rev. J.H. Baden, a Lutheran minister from Brooklyn,New York, appeared before the New York Ministerium of theEvangelical Lutheran Church and discussed a paper that he hadprepared for the board of trustees of the Lutheran TheologicalSeminary of Philadelphia. Rev. Baden said that more emphasisshould be placed on the teaching of German, and blamed thepreparatory schools for not adequately training their students. Out of13 students at the seminary, 12 were able to converse in both Englishand German, but Baden pointed out that the German was not as goodas it should be, and suggested that one of the qualifications foradmittance to the school should be the ability to speak fluent Germanas well as English.23 The following year, in another report concerning thePhiladelphia seminary, Dr. A. Späth asked, “Weher genugendvorbereitete deutsche Studenten fur unsere Anstalt zu gewinnensind?” [Roughly translated, “Where are we to find enough studentsprepared to study in German?” –Ed.]24 Prior to this time, this problem had been a matter of concern forat least two members of the Ministerium, the Rev. Alexander Richterand the Rev. George H. Gomph. Richter, a native-born German whohad been a minister for five years,25 often traveled from Rochester,New York, to Pittsford, one of its suburbs, to talk over his problemswith the elder, more experienced man, Gomph, pastor of St. Paul’sEvangelical Lutheran Church. Gomph had been in the ministry 14years. In Gomph’s front yard in Pittsford stood an apple tree, underwhich the pastors would sit for hours, discussing mutual interests andenjoying each other’s company. Perhaps the need for ministers wasthe problem most frequently discussed. With three exceptions, every23 J.H. Baden, from “Bericht der Directoren des Theol. Seminars in Philadelphia,”a report read at the Third Meeting of the New York Ministerium, Friday, June 16,1882, and published in “Verhandlungen der Achtundachtzigsten Synode des Ev.Luth. Ministeriums des Staates New-York un Augrenzender Staaten und Lander”(New York: Druck on Herborn und Ahlbrecht, 1882).24 Späth, read at meeting of Ministerium, June 5, 1883. “Verhandlungen,” 1883.25 Editor: Richter was pastor of the First German Evangelical Zion’s LutheranChurch in Rochester from 1881-1891. Richter was ordained in 1878. Zion’s wasthe oldest German Lutheran church in the Rochester area. 25
  32. 32. church in the New York Ministerium conducted services inGerman.26 In the fall of 1883,27 Richter appeared before the RochesterLutheran Pastoral Conference with a paper he had written, “WoherNehmen Wir Unsere Deutschen Prediger?”28 [“From whence shallwe obtain our German ministers?”] Richter was only reiterating whathad been for most of the members of the conference a salientquestion. Among his listeners were: Pastor Gomph; the Rev. CharlesS. Kohler, Church of the Reformation; the Rev. C.N. Conrad,Concordia Lutheran Church; and ministerial candidate George Seel,of Rochester.29 Apparently as a result of this conference, the General Councilof the New York Ministerium of the Evangelical Lutheran Churchrequested Pastor Richter to establish a proseminary for the purpose ofeducating young men for the ministry. Under the leadership ofRichter and Gomph, a Supreme Court charter dated October 1, 1883authorized the establishment of the Lutheran Proseminary ofRochester.30 On October 15, 1883, a meeting of the Rochester LutheranPastoral Conference was “called for the purpose of organizing aBoard of Directors for the Lutheran Proseminary of Rochester, N.Y.Members of the Conference present [were] Rev.s A. Richter, C.S.Kohler, C.N. Conrad, G. Seel of Rochester and G.H. Gomph ofPittsford, N.Y.” It was “resolved that the members of the conferenceshall constitute the Board of Directors. On motion the Boardproceeded to election of officers, who were elected to serve until thelast meeting of the board preceding the next meeting of the N.Y.Ministerium in June 1884. The following officers were elected: Pres.26 Alfred Beck, “An Historical Account of the Lutheran Proseminary ofRochester, New York.” The three churches were: Church of the Reformation,Rochester; Holy Trinity, Buffalo; Church of the Redeemer, Utica.27 Editor: In his earlier essay in this volume, Harald Kuehne dates the publicationof this paper in August 1883.28 “Geschichte des Evangelical Lutheran Ministeriums Von Staate New York,1883,” as quoted in Beck, page 1.29 Alfred Beck.30 Although the original charter is evidently not extant, all formal papers and legaldocuments of Wagner College, and all papers of the Board of Regents of theUniversity of the State of New York pertaining to Wagner College, mention theoriginal charter as being granted on this date. Numerous evidences of this may befound in the official documents in the office of the president of Wagner College.For specific mention of this date, see petition submitted from the Wagner CollegeBoard of Trustees to the Regents, April 24, 1952, which states, “On October 1,1883, the Supreme Court of the State of New York granted to your petitioner itsfirst charter.” 26
  33. 33. Rev. A. Richter of Rochester, N.Y.; Secretary G.H. Gomph ofPittsford, N.Y.; Treasurer Mr. J.S. Margrander of Rochester, N.Y.”31 A few years earlier, St. Matthaus Akademy, a school fortraining ministers, had been founded in New York City, but shortlyafter its establishment the relationship between it and theMinisterium had been severed.32 There is evidence, however, thatneither the Akademie in New York nor the Proseminary in Rochesterhad been the earliest attempt at establishing a school of this kind. Thehistory of the Ministerium mentions that “the need of an institution inwhich future ministers might receive the necessary preparatorytraining for Seminary was felt most urgently during the two decadespreceding the founding of the Lutheran Proseminary in 1883. TheNewark Akademy at Lyons, N.Y. had failed, and the MatthausAkademy in New York had been estranged from the New YorkMinisterium.”33 The failure of the Lyons academy was further emphasized in aletter from Augustus C. Redderoth to Lois Dickert, dated June 15,1950. 34 “Dr. Giese had been called to the institution in Newark andhe resigned from his Congregation and moved in the fall to Newarkwith his wife and three children. But the treasury of the school was inbad shape and when Christmas came, he had not received any salary.So he resigned and had to take a small church in Cumberland,Pennsylvania. I presume that was the end of the school in Newark.Then comes a new beginning in Rochester.” Now that the school in Rochester had received its charter, abuilding was needed in which to hold classes. Mr. Christian Seel, anelder of Zion Church, was the owner of a brick building [his home]located at the intersection of Jay and Magne streets. An agreementwas reached between Mr. Seel and the board of directors for the useof Seel’s home. Thus, with unswerving courage, a touch of audacity,the grace of God, and ten dollars,35 arrangements were made to startclasses in the new institution. The secretary was authorized to order31 Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Proseminary, October 15,1883.32 Editor: For more about St. Matthew’s Academy and Newark College, elementsof Wagner College’s “prehistory,” see the fourth essay in this volume, “FoundingFaces & Places: The Genesis of Wagner College.”33 “Geschichte des New York Ministeriums” (John Nicum, 1888), p. 324.34 ALS [Autographed Letter Signed] from Augustus C. Redderoth to LoisDickert, June 15, 1950. (MS in Wagneriana, Markham Room, Wagner College)[Redderoth was a professor at Wagner College from 1892 to 1896.]35 Editor: As noted in the previous paper, this is an error repeated over and overfrom an early mistranscription. The school started with a treasury containing not$10 but $100, the gift of Justus Koch, a supporter from Philadelphia. 27
  34. 34. six double-seat desks on the most reasonable terms available.36Christian Seel’s son, the Rev. George Seel, was appointed temporaryhousefather,37 and the first class of six students entered the initialphase of their training. The original agreement entered into with Mr. Seel is obscure,but there is evidence that the situation was not without difficulties. On November 5, 1883, at a meeting of the board, “the subjectfor consideration was the difficulty between the housefather and Mr.Seel his father, and the question whether it would be necessary anddesirable to move the institution to another locality. On motion Rev.sRichter and Kohler were appointed a committee to confer with Mr.Seel, with power to act in the matter of renting a part of the Seelhomestead for school purposes.”38 At the next meeting of the board, “the committee appointed toconfer with Mr. Seel Sr. relative to renting the seven rooms in theupper part of his house, reported that they had met Mr. Seel and uponmaking their statement found him very much surprised that anychange was wanted by the authorities. He declared that he would notrent the said rooms to the institution. The committee furtherascertained that Mr. Seel was willing to keep the boys upon thecondition originally agreed upon, and also that he could makeprovision for as many more as would be likely to seek admission intothe institution. On motion of Mr. Conrad it was resolved that thesecretary be requested to convey the thanks of the Board to Mr. Seelfor his willingness to do so much for the institution; and also toassure him that it was not from any dissatisfaction with, or want ofappreciation of existing arrangements that the committee made theinquiries in reference to a change.”39 Despite a stormy beginning, a mere portent of futuredifficulties, the school struggled through its first year. The program of study was patterned after the Germangymnasium, with six forms or classes. The gymnasium hadoriginated in ancient Greece where it was used by the Greek youth asa place for exercise and discussion. The gymnasium after whichRichter organized the Proseminary had been founded in 1536 by aGerman educator, Johann Sturm. Sturm’s aim was “to train pious,36 Minutes, October 29, 1883.37 Editor: This is the only extant account that refers to George Seel’s appointmentas “temporary,” although it was indeed quite short — he resigned the nextFebruary when, according to an 1887 account by Richter, Seel was called to acongregation in Newark, New York.38 Minutes, November 5, 1883.39 Minutes, November 12, 1883. 28
  35. 35. learned, and eloquent men for service in church and state usingreligion and the new learning as means.”40 When we considerRichter’s intentions when founding the school, he was not far fromSturm’s original aim. The curriculum of the Sexta, or lowest form, consisted ofreligion, German, Latin, English, world history, geography, naturalhistory, arithmetic, penmanship, drawing and singing. The Quinta,Quarta and Tertia forms taught the same subjects as the Sexta in anadvanced degree, augmenting them with Greek and Americanhistory, while the Secunda and Prima forms included the teaching ofHebrew, natural philosophy and chemistry. As time passed, thenumber of students increased as the “Proseminary admitted specialstudents which were tutored as Praktische Abteilung [a practicaldivision]. This course was dropped in due time to give the right ofway to the regular 6-year instruction.”41 At the end of the first year of study, the board of trusteesdecided to celebrate the Christmas festivities with the students. OnDecember 26, at seven o’clock in the evening, the members of theboard met in Seel’s home and presented each student with candies,oranges, nuts, a copy of Luther’s “Geistliche Lieder” [“SpiritualSongs”], and the welcome news that a two-week vacation fromclasses would commence the next morning.42 During the next few months, enthusiasm for the new projectwas widespread in Rochester. Pastor Conrad of Concordia promisedthe board that his church would make an important contribution tothe school’s treasury,43 following an example set by the members ofSt. Paul’s Church in Pittsford, who had already sent in contributions.The board voted to extend its thanks to a Mr. John G. Wagner for hisgift of 150 savings banks, to be used in gathering contributions to theschool.44 Apparently, however, the treasury was not in dire need,since at least five students received free tuition for their first year,45and several applicants were refused admission because the board felt40 Merritt Thompson, “The History of Education” (New York: Barnes and Noble,1933).41 ALS from William Arndt [a student in 1885] to Clarence C. Stoughton, March15, 1937. (MS in Wagneriana, Markham Room, Wagner College) [Editor: The“special students” were those who were admitted in mid-course to thegymnasium curriculum.]42 Minutes, December 10, 1883. [Editor: Other accounts indicate that this“vacation” was intended to give the board time to pull the school’s financestogether so that it could continue through the remainder of the academic year.]43 Minutes, January 7, 1884.44 Ibid.45 Ibid. 29
  36. 36. that the school could not “provide such instruction for the young menas they would need.”46 With the acceptance of additional students and the growth ofthe school, it was deemed necessary to increase the number of boardmembers from seven to thirteen. The stipulation was made that notwo members of the same family could become board members.Perhaps in appreciation of the services and contributions of thechurches in the area, the board voted to seat one layman from St.John’s, one from Concordia, and four from Zion Lutheran Church.47On February 7, 1884, Mr. John G. Wagner was elected as a memberof the board of directors. It has not been determined under what conditions the schoolhad been using Mr. Seel’s home, but at this time, a committee thathad formed to seek a fitting location reported that it was consideringMr. Seel’s home, which was available for rent for two years at $400a year, or for sale at $10,500. Perhaps in search of lower rates, thecommittee investigated a three-story house on South Avenue thatwas owned by a Mr. Reilly. Reilly’s 11-room house could be rentedfor $360 a year.48 Perhaps because of the contemplated move, the agreement withhousefather Seel was ended, and a search for a new housefather wasundertaken. Should the reader confuse the term “housefather” with the“housemother” we associate with the college dormitory, I should liketo enumerate the duties a person filling this position in 1884 had toperform. The housefather had to be a Lutheran minister who not onlywould have responsibility for the financial matters of the school, butin addition would have to teach classes regularly. He had to be afather to the students, watching over their mental, physical andspiritual health and well being; he was also responsible to the boardfor the school’s property.49 A Pastor Ehrhardt of New York City, perhaps awed by theboard’s requirements, refused a call to fill the position, as did PastorJ. Muehlhauser of Rochester. The Reverend Mr. Snyder of Canadaaccepted the call, but a few months later asked to be released fromhis obligation, as he did not want to leave Canada. Possibly indesperation, the board called Mr. Koennemann of New York City,who accepted the temporary position at a salary of $3 weekly, inaddition to fuel, laundry, room and board, which were to be46 Ibid.47 Minutes, January 21, 1884.48 Minutes, February 28, 1884.49 Minutes, November 27, 1884. 30
  37. 37. provided.50 Mr. Koennemann, who had recently emigrated fromGermany himself, proved to be a poor choice. Several weeks had passed since the housing committee hadinquired as to the possibility of renting other rooms. When a suitablebuilding was located, the possessions of the school were moved tothe new house at 33 South Avenue, on wagons furnished by Messr.sBantleon and Karweick.51 The committee was instructed to purchasefurniture and household necessities for the new building and also toinvestigate what provisions were located within the congregationsand to “purchase the necessary supplies from those whose rates weremost advantageous to the institution.”52 At the meeting of March 27, it was moved that “the variouspastors be asked to make known among their congregations that allthose who wish to donate vegetables and other foods to theinstitution deliver the same to 33 South Avenue, where they will begratefully received.”53 The congregations responded with fruits,vegetables, clothing and firewood. Most of the classrooms were located on the first floor ofReilly’s building, with one on the second floor. The students lived onthe second and third floors, two students to a room.54 On the whole,the Proseminary was getting along very well. Richter wasenthusiastic about the progress being made, but he knew thatfinancial aid was needed. On June 19, 1884, $784 was collected at ameeting of the New York Ministerium, which alleviated the financialproblem for the time being.55 One other problem, however, was notso easily taken care of. Koennemann, the housefather recently arrived from Germany,was too much the disciplinarian, and several times Richter hadspoken to Koennemann about his treatment of the students. Richter’swishes were, however, not respected, and a letter drafted by theboard requesting “a humane discipline, befitting this school,”56 wasgiven to Koennemann. In August, the permission given to him to livein the school was revoked, and in November, Koennemann was50 Minutes, March 20, 1884.51 Ibid. The school was relocated on Monday, March 20, 1884. [Editor: March20, 1884 was a Thursday, the regular meeting day of the board at the time.Another source says that the move took place on March 24, 1884, which was thefollowing Monday.]52 Minutes, March 27, 1884.53 Ibid.54 Personal interview by the author with Professor Theodore Palleske, Class of1898, April 1957.55 “Verhandlungen,” 1884.56 Minutes, April 17, 1884. 31
  38. 38. dismissed. At his dismissal, Pastor F.A. Kammerer of New York Citywas called as housefather for one year. According to the director’sminutes of February 28, 1884, it was voted that the salary of thehousefather for the year April 1, 1884 to April 1, 1885 be $600.Since Kammerer was called during that period, I assume that he waspaid at that rate. In December 1884, a constitution — largely the work of Richter— was drawn up, and plans were made to incorporate the school. Inthe same month, David Bantleon reported that the treasury balancewas $1,076.03, the bulk of this money having been contributed bythe Ministerium members. One short year after its beginning, theProseminary boasted a 10,000 percent increase in its funds!57 In March 1885, the lease on the [Reilly] building had almostexpired, and two board members — Messr.s Christ and Schlegel —were instructed to meet with the owner of the building to discussrenting it for another year. The committee was also authorized “tolook around for another suitable location.”58 In April, thehousefather’s report stated that the institution was in good order andthat the relationship between teachers and pupils was a happy one.Kammerer also announced his intention of accepting a call to theBethlehem Lutheran Church in New York, and the board directedthat his resignation be accepted. There were to be strangeconsequences to Mr. Kammerer’s resignation.59 After due consideration, the housing committee once againdecided that a change of location would be beneficial, and on May 1,1885, the Proseminary moved to its third building in two years, alarge, three-storied building located at 4 Oregon Street. PastorKammerer had left before the school moved, and Mr. C.G.Schneider, a Sunday school teacher, was temporarily hired ashousefather. That it was difficult to obtain an able man for thatposition is evidenced by the statement the trustees made in extendingtheir thanks to him “for his unusual willingness in taking uponhimself the responsibilities of the office.”60 The tuition at this time was broken down into three segments,different rates being charged for the fall, winter and spring terms.The students paid $13 for the fall term, $10.50 for the winter term,and $8.50 for the spring, a total of $32. In addition, each student paid57 Editor: Based on the mistaken assumption that the school was founded with atreasury containing $10.58 Minutes, March 4, 1885.59 Minutes, April 9, 1885.60 Minutes, May 14, 1885. 32
  39. 39. $2 per week for room and board for 40 weeks, and $10 per year forheat.61 Richter’s constitution, which had been drawn up some timebefore, had been amended, and on May 28, four weeks after theschool had moved, the constitution was unanimously accepted and anew board elected. Mr. John Wagner, the Rochester businessmanwho had been very helpful in the past, was elected to the vicepresidency.62 With the election of new officers, which involved a transfer ofbooks and records, it was discovered that former housefatherKammerer had not been entirely honest in his dealings with theschool. When Kammerer left, he signed an IOU for $18.06,maintaining that he had no funds. This sum, however, was not evenan honest figure, as shown by the following statement: “It remains tobe told, that after careful scrutiny, it was found that Pastor K.charged us twice for the following items … ” A list that follows inthe minutes tells of the overcharged items. During a board meetingseveral weeks later, the minutes stated, “The results of an inquirydirected to the former housefather, P.K., was a very compromisingone and revealed him to be a deceiver, all of which is plainly broughtout in the president’s report herewith attached.”63 The history of theNew York Ministerium adequately summarizes Kammerer’saccomplishments: “He [Koennemann] was succeeded by Rev. F.A.Kammerer who held that position for one year. It is God’smiraculous grace that in spite of this [God] did not permit thedestruction of the enterprise.”64 Lest the modern college student think that school was easier in“the good old days,” an examination of the schedule for the yearsimmediately following the adoption of the constitution will show thatthe Proseminary graduates had far more to complain about. Thestudents were awakened by a bell that sounded at 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m. inwinter. Breakfast was served 30 minutes later, after which thestudents attended chapel services for 15 minutes. Although there were no classes on Saturday, students wererequired to attend chapel, while the Sabbath was observed inaccordance with strict regulations. All students had to attend church61 Excerpts from the 91 Synod Meeting, June 12, 1885, Minutes of Board, May28, 1885 [sic].62 Minutes, May 28, 1885.63 Minutes, June 8, 1885.64 From an 1887 report on the history of Wagner College by Alexander Richter,included in “Geschichte des New York Ministeriums” (ed. John Nicum, 1888),pp. 332-337. (MS in Wagneriana, Markham Room) 33

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