Answered By: Krista Reynolds
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2017     Views: 87

Franz Wilhelm Johannes Sylwester was born in Gaylord, Minnesota, on March 3, 1881.  Following his graduation from the seminary in 1905, he was brought to Portland as the first Director/President of the newly founded Concordia Evangelical Lutheran College (now Concordia University).  He married Helen Broitzmann in 1906; she died in 1918.  He married Arina Fiss in 1920; she died in 1958.  The University of Oregon conferred on a Master of Arts degree (1929) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, honored him with a Doctor of Divinity degree (1954), although he was never ordained.  During his 42 years as president, he taught in every subject area and performed all administrative functions. He planted many of the trees around the campus, including several non-native species.  Following his retirement in 1946, he continued to work part-time in the library and to teach.  He died on October 26, 1972 and is buried in Parkrose Cemetery on Fremont.

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