Augustana College, Illinois

Augustana College, Illinois

Augustana College and Theological Seminary was founded in 1860, making it one of the older educational institutions of the State. At a meeting held in Chicago, April 27, 1860, the founders of the Augustana Synod (feeling the urgent need of teachers, preachers and citizens prepared to take the lead in religious and intellectual work) decided to erect an institution where young men could be prepared for the great work of life. This date has been generally observed ever since as “Founders Day ” by the churches of the synod; the income from all these celebrations to be given to a permanent fund for an Augustana professorship. During the first three years of its existence (1860-1863) Augustana was located at Chicago Professor L. P. Esbjorn being president. Through inducements from Paxton, Ford County, Illinois, in 1863, Augustana was moved there, where it remained for twelve years, under the successful guidance of President Doctor T. N. Hasselquist and Professor Henry Rock of Pennsylvania. The location at Paxton not being considered central enough a removal was very strongly urged, some wishing Chicago, and others the Mississippi Valley. Rock Island was finally chosen and ground broken for the new college. A few friends assembled on the forest-covered bluff at Rock Island, and as they prayed that the institution in its new home should become a temple of the Lord and shed its benign influence far and wide, they thought of the temple of the Israelites, and how men in their prayers turned toward it as a source of blessing to a whole nation. Filled with this feeling, they named the hill “Zion,” which name it bears to this day. In 1875 the college was opened, although not thoroughly completed, Doctor Hasselquist being president and Professor Rock vice-president. From these beginnings the institution has grown to be a first class American College, offering courses and doing work equal to the very best, with students numbering seven hundred and a faculty composed of men from the leading American and European universities. All departments are extremely strong and progressive. The academic department offers a four-years’ course, giving preparation for entrance to Yale and other universities. For graduates who desire to become clergymen the institution has an excellent theological seminary. The college department of four years offers courses in classical and scientific work leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, recognized by American universities, such as Yale and Harvard, and European universities. The normal department pre-pares students for work as teachers. In the conservatory of music thorough instruction is given in singing, violin, pipe organ, piano, harmony, counterpoint, musical dictation, elocution, physical culture, orchestra instruments, and other subjects. The art department, under the direction of Professor Graftsstrom, a fellow student of the great artist, Zorn, has shown some excellent work. In the business department are taught book-keeping, stenography, type writing, and other necessary commercial branches. It is an institution that Rock Island should more than be proud of and appreciate. For thirty-three years, in which it has made its home with us, under the guidance of Doctor Gustav Andreen, the scholarly gentleman who is now Augustana’s president, the college is experiencing an unparalleled period of prosperity and growth.


City of Rock Island 


Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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