Everyone has been on a date with him, from students to faculty. Yet few even know how to pronounce his last name, and none have ever actually met him. Who is this mystery man? Carl B. Ylvisaker.
Carl B. was born on Jan. 13, 1896 and passed away in April of 1945. In those 49 years, Ylvisaker managed to spend 19 years as the Head of the Christianity Department at Concordia.
Ylvisaker surpassed his general duties in the religion department, though, and became a much more important asset to Concordia’s campus.
Alumnus John B. Larsen wrote an article entitled, “Tribute to Carl B. Ylvisaker,” in which he described Ylvisaker as, “God’s prophet at Concordia College during the most trying times America and especially the Great Plains area ever knew.”
Ylvisaker was also acknowledged as being a huge proponent of Concordia athletics. It was said that he was the first to visit any injured athletes. He also attended many athletic events, remembered most players’ names and even coached the tennis team.
Despite his interest in athletics, Ylvisaker was also known to provide spiritual guidance to all students.
Ylvisaker was described as a friend to everyone. According to Roy Gilbertson in a Concordian article from 1945, Ylvisaker was “not only (a friend) to the pre-ministry student, but also to the future teacher, musician, and athlete.”
Ylvisaker’s strong presence and huge influence on campus was especially acknowledged when he fell ill with pneumonia. Over the course of his illness, Ylvisaker received several hundred letters of well wishes and thanks.
Despite his early passing in 1945, his presence remains on campus today for the occasional date night as Cobbers continue to be influenced by Carl B. Ylvisaker.