Entrance Torch 2

Otto Paul Kretzmann


Valparaiso University President, 1940-1968

The Rev. Otto Paul Kretzmann began his productive 28-year presidency of Valparaiso University in 1940. Before coming to Valpo, he was executive secretary for six years at the Walther League, the international Lutheran youth organization. Prior to that, he served for 10 years on the faculty of Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Ill. Kretzmann grew up in New York City, the son and grandson of Lutheran pastors. A graduate of Concordia Collegiate Institute in Bronxville, N.Y., he received the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and pursued further graduate study at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Chicago Universities. He was the recipient of 10 honorary doctorates.

Kretzmann’s inaugural address set the tone for his work at Valpo: “Even in a climate of peril and war, the University must continue its two-fold task: the search for truth and the transmission of truth, free and unbroken.” During Kretzmann’s administration, a new campus was developed and enrollment grew from 400 to 4,000. As the quality of many of the academic programs was enhanced, the University became nationally recognized.