Uppsala Cities All Around the World

Upsala College Part 2: From Kenilworth to East Orange

Father Beck resigned in 1910, and the second president was an Upsala graduate. Peter was a pastor at Salem Church in Connecticut and was known for his enthusiasm and work with youth. He was on the Upsala Board of Directors since 1907. A financial campaign raised $30,000 and put the college on a solid base. Even though he had to personally secure bank loans to pay teachers’ salaries, he persevered and frequently traveled to tell the Upsala story.

The third President of the college was the pastor of Zion Church in Portland, Connecticut. He was a good administrator and a genuine scholar. He led the New York and New England Conferences in raising $465,000 to improve the school. The 45-acre campus in East Orange was purchased in 1923. When classes began, there were 300 students. During World War II, the numbers increased to 2,000 and then leveled off at 1,500. Dr. Erickson worked until 1936.

A distinguished 27-year tenure as President was begun by The Rev. Evald Benjamin Lawson in 1938. He was President when the college grew the most. Beck Hall was completed in 1949, along with other residence halls and the first unit of Christ Chapel in 1954. One pastor noted that Dr. Lawson was Upsala. The bond between school and church was strengthened by his constant enthusiasm and close touch with the synods. The college was entering a new era after his death because the old order was passing. He was the last New England Lutheran pastor to be President.

The school entered the turbulent 60s thanks to Dr. Carl Fjellman. The College Center and Puder Hall for the sciences were completed in 1970. The Art Center and the Town House were built in the same year. The college became more sensitive to its multicultural environment after the Newark riots. Hundreds of African American students were signed up for the Timothy J. Still program. Upsala is the only Lutheran college with a majority of minority students.

The addition of the Wirths Campus was overseen by the sixth President, Dr. Rodney O. Felder. Dr. David E. Schramm was the President for two years. The tax base in East Orange continued to decline. The student body came from different parts of the Lutheran Church. The proposed auditorium and chapel for Christ Chapel were put off indefinitely. The admission of underqualified students contributed to the decline in academic performance. Students who did not have a lot of money had trouble paying their tuition bills.

The Rev. Robert E. Karsten tried to save the school. He worked to bring up the standards from 1988 to 1994. He started a series of overseas exchanges to increase the number of international students. He tried to interest the former constituency by repairing the campus. He borrowed funds to keep going. The campus buildings were mortgaged, and the endowment was used for expenses. The city deteriorated, and alumni contributions slowed. Four Lutheran sister colleges in the Midwest received a loan of $4 million but were unable to pay their debts.

Dr. DeLomba was called to manage the closing of the school. When Upsala was able to fulfill its function, the time had passed. The Board of Trustees voted to close the school on May 31st, 1995. The debt was at $13 million. The number of people who signed up was less than 500.

The work of Upsala College has helped thousands of people. It is still needed in North Jersey. White racism, community noninvolvement, church neglect, administrative incompetence, government nonaction, alumni forgetfulness, and the Board’s failure to recognize the depth of the dilemma are some of the blame for everyone. All of the difficulties could have been overcome, but they were catastrophic. Not every institution can last forever. It is possible that the goal of 102 years of high-quality education is worthy of remembering. It was to Upsala that the first president of the United States was inaugurated. This is where the historian Carl Degler received an honorary degree in 1969. Carl Sandburg and Raoul Wallenberg were also honored. The renowned curator of the Bronx Botanical Garden is an early professor. Another graduate, pr. The bishop of the New England Conference was Eskil. There is a person who says that The Augustana Church has a presiding bishop. The standards and zeal of Upsala are carried on by hundreds of other alumni.

The well-known musician, poet, and pastor at Gustavus Adolphus Church in New York, who was chair of the Board for 21 years as the college was formed, wrote these words in a poem entitled “Renewal” Fmyelsen.

The light of God’s evening star promises a new dawn for Upsala, even though it is night. Father Beck said it was God’s work, not ours.

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