North Central College - Naperville, IL

C. Harve Geiger

1946-1960, Sixth President

C. Harve Geiger was born on a farm near Milford, Indiana, on June 22, 1893. He attended Manchester College in Indiana and the University of Chicago, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1922.

He married Velma Beatrice in 1915. After a stint teaching high school, Geiger received an M.A. in education from Harvard and moved into higher education. He was part of the faculty at Coe College in Iowa from 1928 to 1946. During that time, his wife completed her B.A. at Coe and he earned a Ph.D. in education from Columbia University.

President Geiger was inaugurated in April 1947 in Pfeiffer Hall. At the ceremony, Geiger professed his “sincere devotion to North Central to the end that her future may be as useful and rich as her past has been honorable.” Geiger emphasized the religious nature of the institution, noting, “The church college is an American college. It is indigenous to our soil and is the characteristic feature of our educational system. And it is appropriate, I believe, that we should renew our sense of obligation for the debt of education to religion.”

During his tenure as president, Geiger would act on this principle, appointing the first College chaplain and supporting a rich College Chapel series. During his tenure, Geiger oversaw the construction of a new library shared by the College and the seminary; the renovation of the old Carnegie Library into the Alumni Hall of Science; the building of the first men’s dormitories, Seager Hall in 1954 and Geiger Hall in 1957; and the construction of women’s dormitories Kroehler Hall North and South. Geiger also appointed the College’s first vice president, Harvey F. Siemsen, class of 1920, to assist him with church relations and increasing College endowment. Geiger established a separate admissions department in 1950, noting that “the motivations compelling college attendance were becoming stronger and more varied.”

Clarence Roberts, hired into the history department by Geiger in 1950, described the president as a “public speaker, a civic promoter and a church leader.” Richard Eastman, whom Geiger hired into the English department in 1946, found him to be a “man of fine character, conservative, housekeeper, slow to move in new directions.”

Geiger served as president until 1960 and retired in Naperville. Geiger attended the inauguration of Swing in 1975, but died later that year. His widow, Velma, died in 1992.