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Page 13 text:
required building, School was opened in old Highland Hall in the Fall of 1831. The following- summer the Administration building, planned and supervised by President Yoder, was erected. The school was incorporated Jan. 4, 1892, under the name of Lenoir College, and was adopted as the College of the Tennessee Synod in 1895. Then from 1891 to 1901 Prof. Yoder was President of Lenoir College, resigning in the latter year after which he spent his whole time in the Pastorate. In October 1907, he was elected to membership on the Board of Trustees of L moir C )lle e and was re-elected regularly until his death which occurred in the early morning of May 16, 1911. In all, he give nineteen years of service as head of the school work of the Tennessee Synod, in its beginnings, thro ' the period of strife and divi- sion, in the time of re-establishment and vindication and always with heroic self-sacrifice Early in the year 1879, Prof. Yoder accepted a call to become Pastor of St. James Lutheran Church, near Newton, N. C. From that time until the time of his dea h he sustained the relation of Pastor of some congregation or parish along with his labors in the class-room. In this office he served twatve diff rant congregations, all except two being in Catawba county. This long period of service in the ministry, his prominent service as an offher of synod and the fact that his name appears on nearly every special program of the Synod during the past thirty years show that he was a Mas- ter in the pulpit and a leader in the Synod. In the larger field he served as President of the United Synod from 1902 to 1906 and Chairman of the H: m3 Mission and Church Extension Board from 1908 to 1910. Recognizing in this Preacher-Professor a man of genius, the public call- ed upon him for more service. Accordingly, he was made County Superin- tendant of schools for Catawba county in the summer of 1884 and continued until the summer of 1893. As a Student, he took high rank, especially in Mathematics, for which he had native talent, and in which he distinguished himself in later life. Every step was paved by hard work. He favorably impressed his superiors both n ar and far. The " ups and downs " of his own College days taught him to labor for and exercise an interest in his students. He was the first beneficiary s ' udent of the Tennessee Synod and he was ever elert and active in the support of others who followed him. He was studious. He finished his classical course and laid the foundation of a ' theological education at the same time. Though deprived of a regular theological course he neverthe- less made himself a capable theologian after he left College so that he serv- ed as Professor of Theology in connection with his school work, and was honored in 1899 by his Alma Mater with the Degree of Doctor of Divinity. As a Professor, Dr. Yoder found the largest opportunity to exercise his native talent. He was, by nature, a teacher. Having a strong intellect trained to a logical method and being deeply interested in the education of the youth he found his greatest work in exercising these faculties. He was abundantly able to analyze thoroughly the most abstract problems connected with his numerous subjects. He possessed a fluency of speech by which he was able to convey his own clear conceptions in a simple, easily understood
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Dedication History Robert Anderson Yoder was born eight miles west of Lincolnton, N. C, August 16, 1853. After pursuing his studies in the public schools, one year being spent in Hickory, and, having decided early in life to devote himself to the work of the ministry, he entered North Carolina College, Mt. Pleasant, N. C. , in the Fall of 1872. He studied for two years. Because of a lack of money, he went to Illinois in search of work. While there he attended the Univer- sity of Illinois during the session of ' 74- ' 75 and taught in the public school the following year. He returned to N. C, College and studied in both classical and theological courses, graduating in 1877 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then came to Hickory in search of work. Finding none he went to Conover. Two Lutheran Pastors decided to make use of him and the three men planned to establish a school which had just made a feeble start. On a warm day in July 1877, nineteen pupils met t he new and only In- structor in a private house to begin work. Prof. Yoder was married on the ninth of May, 1878, to Rosa E. Fisher, daughter of the late Captain J. A. Fisher, of Salisbury, N. C. By this alliance a true help-mate was secured, the wife spending many years as an officer in the schools which her husband sought to found and at the same time giving able attention to her duties in the home. In September, 1878, the school was opened in its own new building under the name of Concordia High School. Through the first four years, Prof. Yoder as Principal and his wife as Matron and Teacher of Mu.sic were the only Instructors. In 1881 the school was chartered with the name of Concordia College and Prof. Yoder was continued as Principal, though Dr. P. C. Henkel was President in name. During this period the school enjoyed a moderate patronage and seems to have had a healthful outlook. In the Spring of 1883, Prof. Yoder resigned in order to pursue a special course in theology and spent one year at the Lutheran theological Seminary in Philadelphia. After his return he was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of Concordia College and continued in this relation until, in 1888, he was again called to the Institution and made President of the Faculty. He served in this capacity at Conover to the end of the session of ' 90- ' 91. Under his incumbency the school enjoyed its most prosperous season, the enrollment reaching as high as 120 and increasing almost continuously in the Collegiate department. The Fall of 1890 commemorates the offer of what was known as the Lenoir school site to the Tennessee Synod of the Lutheran Church. The offer was rejected. The entire Faculty of Concordia College, with one ex- ception, resigned. Under the leadership of Prof. Yoder, Dr. J. C. Moser, Revs. W. P. Cline and A. L. Crouse, the Lenoir offer was accepted, these four men making themselves financially responsible for the erection of the
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and interesting manner. And withal, his teaching rested upon a basis of thorough personal conviction of truth and was saturated with a certitude beyond which his students never cared to inquire and with which he could in a signal way draw out, shape and build up character. As a College President, Dr. Yoder rendered Lenoir College and the Lutheran Church an immeasurable service. The period during which he served was one of peculiar severity and uncertainty. It was the period of beginnings in which mountain-like obstacles were many. Tact, a genial nature, sound judgement, far-sighted wisdom, strong faith, dignity and large executive ability constitute the equipment of this successful pioneer in educational work. A man of such a mould, at the head of an Institution, could not but make an impression on his work. Lenoir College stands as a monument to, and, in many ways, reveals this great educator. In her stand for positive Christianity, broad culture, accurate scholarship, co-education, and the development of Christian character, Lenoir College shows forth the dominant educational principles of her former beloved President. As a Member of the Board, his varied and successful experience, ripe scholarship, sound judgement, devoted heart, and active life made him an increasingly valuable member whose counsels were sought, whose advice was gladly received and place will not be easily filled. Many Ministers, School-teachers, Lawyers, and other professional men owe a large part of their success to the inspiration and interest for their work which was excited in them by Dr. Yoder. Hosts of men and women possess their spiritual heritage because he lived among them. These his intellectual and spiritual children, through whom he, though dead, yet liveth, will unite with the Hacawa in the recognition that his was a life well spent in the service of his fellow countrymen. M. L. Stirewalt.
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