Monday, January 13, 2014

Concordia Reflections: interviews with old Concordia students digitized and available!

In the early 1980s, as a part of her sabbatical, the late Concordia librarian Margaret Horn (pic below) interviewed more than twenty former Concordia students living in the south.  Thanks to the Minnesota Digital library, those interviews are now available to listen to and download from the Minnesota Reflections website.  

The interviews are with students who attended the college in the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and feature recollections of their experiences at Concordia.  Among other things the former students are asked about:

  • teachers they enjoyed and why
  • their friendships on and off of campus
  • the hierarchy among students
  • the places in the Twin Cities that they visited
  • the way they paid the bills (i.e. working off campus and through donations)
  • extracurricular activities including athletics, clubs, and the hazing of younger students. 

Even in those days, the school was focused on not only cultivating future pastors and teachers for the church body of which it was a part (the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod), but also laypersons possessing the benefit of a Christian liberal arts education.  As such, there are about thirteen interviews with those who went on to become pastors, and eight of those who went on to do other work. 

Take some time in the near future to enjoy listening to some of the interviews!  Again, here is the link for the interviews (and here a link that gets you to all the Concordia items found in the collection)
Here is a summary of one of the more colorful interviews with Rudolph Ritz, class of 1935: 

"Pastor Ritz, whose mother was the chief cook for Kaiser Wilhelm II, talks about, among other things, why he came to study for the ministry at Concordia, how public school teachers sacrificed extra time to help him learn English and math, the President’s long list of responsibilities at the school (leading chapel, night watchman, his own secretary), outstanding profs and what made them great, the dissection of stray animals for biology classes, how city boys at Concordia avoided hazing and who got it the worst, classroom clowning and fun, playing sports, the difficulties professors faced, the scandal of dating students (dancing, movies), extracurricular night lectures by a professor on sexual matters, a “rebel” student newspaper (the “Rebel Comet”), pro baseball and the St. Paul Saints (Babe Ruth), work outside of school, the conversion of a co-worker to Christianity through his preaching, and an interesting story about a personal letter from President Nixon.”