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Valparaiso University: Presidents

Oscar C. Kreinheder, 1930-1939

The Rev. Oscar C. Kreinheder was elected Valparaiso University's second Lutheran president in May 1930. He was a founder of the Lutheran University Association in 1925 and a member of its board of directors since 1926. As pastor of churches in St. Paul and Detroit, and as president of the English District of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states from 1918 to 1928, he earned a reputation as an excellent administrator.

Unfortunately, he came to the presidency at the worst possible time, in the midst of the Great Depression. His administration was almost wholly preoccupied with fund solicitations, which, despite the best efforts of the president and his staff, accomplished little more than keeping the University solvent at a low level of subsistence. This was in itself, however, no small accomplishment in those difficult days. In spite of the financial strait-jacket, the Kreinheder administration left a record of substantial progress: retention and addition of able faculty members, restructuring and strengthening of departments, reorganization of the curriculum, a general face-lifting of the old campus, and establishment of the Valparaiso University Guild and a new Alumni Association. When he retired in 1939 due to health problems and exhaustion, the University was poised for a great leap forward.

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