North Central College - Naperville, IL

Herman J. Kiekhoefer

1889-1910, Third President

Herman J. Kiekhoefer was born in northern Germany in 1849. His family emigrated to the United States in 1862 and settled in the western part of Wisconsin in Trempealeau County.

Kiekhoefer entered Galesville University some 20 miles from home in 1869 and graduated with distinguished honors in 1872. This institution was run at the time by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Wisconsin.

He enrolled immediately thereafter at North-Western College to continue language studies. His knowledge of German was put to good use by German professor Frederick William Heidner, who hired him as an assistant. Kiekhoefer returned to Galesville University in 1874 to teach classical languages and serve as a minister in Wisconsin.

After marrying Sarah Saline Scholz from Racine, Kiekhoefer joined the faculty at the Union Biblical Institute in Naperville to teach Hebrew and systematic and practical theology. He was elected acting president of North-Western College in 1889 by the board, which confirmed his appointment in 1892.

Kiekhoefer believed “character is more than knowledge, but they ought to sustain a reciprocal relation to one another. Knowledge should minister to character, and character give dignity to knowledge.”

During his tenure as president, the south wing of Old Main was completed and electricity was introduced. Kiekhoefer also supervised construction of four new buildings: Nichols Gymnasium, dedicated in 1902; and Carnegie Library, Goldspohn Science Hall and the Boilerhouse, all dedicated in 1908.

Kiekhoefer resigned in 1910 and returned to parish ministry in the Illinois Conference. In 1929 he moved to California, where he died in 1937. He is buried in Naperville Cemetery.