by Paige Uzzell
Concordia’s yearbook, now known as the “Tower,” was first published in 1920 by the senior collegiate class. 1920 was a different time for the yearbook, Concordia and even the United States.
The yearbook was first known as the “Pioneer.” The first yearbook started with a history of the school up until that point in time. They called this preface the “Brief History of the Lutheran Seminary.” It included the start of Concordia, the change of board members and the changes occurring to all of the campus buildings.
The staff of the first issue of Concordia’s yearbook were aware of the fact they had nothing to base their book off of, and knew some small errors were bound to occur due to their lack of experience. They put together a preface in preparation of these errors before the bulk of the book started.
“This is the first class annual ever issued by any of the classes which have graduated from this institution. Since the authors of this volume are inexperienced in editorial work, and had no precedent annual according to which they could pattern this book, they humbly beg the kind reader to excuse any errors which might have escaped their notice,” “Pioneer” authors said.
Following the history of Concordia there were pages dedicated to the history of the senior class. There was a general overview and a brief description of how each year went for the senior class, starting with their preparatory year and going all the way to the finish of their normal year.
The second issue of the yearbook, which was called the “Mirror,” was published in 1921. This yearbook took its structure from the first yearbook and built upon it. The “Mirror” included more photographs and information about the younger classes than its predecessor, the “Pioneer.”
It was apparent that the first issue of Concordia’s own yearbook was a success. Concordia has had a yearbook almost consistently from the start in 1920. There have been some years skipped, but it was done so that students would have an opportunity to purchase one while attending Concordia.
The first time Concordia’s yearbook was called the “Tower” was in 1959. The book still lacked the color that today’s yearbooks are known to have. The old college yearbook was still split with Concordia High School and would continue to be shared between the two schools until 1966. In 1966 the Concordia High School got its own yearbook, called the “Torch.”
The name “Tower” came around because the yearbook’s office was originally in the tower of Weller. Many aspects of the group have changed since those early days, but the old name has stuck around through the ages.
The “Tower” is still going strong after sixty years. Today’s “Tower” is made up of one faculty advisor, Stacy Tamerius, and six students acting as the designers, photographers and marketing managers.
The yearbook team is now considered a campus job in that students are able to apply for open positions before the beginning of each school year. The team creates a way for students to savor the memories of college when the school days are long gone.
“I really like that the yearbook becomes a good memento and souvenir for the year. The staff always does a really great job of putting together a high-quality book for people to take away with great pictures from so many activities and all throughout the year,” Tamerius said.
Even though in today’s day and age hard books have started to fade in the background, the yearbook offers a place to sit down and to remember the fun times and good memories.
“The yearbook is most important, I think, for archiving. Social media, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera, is for what’s going on right now, while the yearbook is more about memories. The yearbook is something that your kids and grandkids will have fun flipping through, and that you’ll enjoy looking back on every once in a while, when Concordia is just a memory,” Tamerius said. “Having hard copy yearbooks is the best way to make sure you keep those memories and is also a great way for the university to preserve its history.”
The yearbook is full of memories and history. Each page, back from the beginning with the “Pioneer” to today with the “Tower,” offers its readers a moment to step into the past and remember the joy of the times and the bittersweet goodbyes.
“Farewell we bid you, dear old Alma Mater, Class ‘20’s wish is, fare you well. To all four winds we’ll part now and we’ll scatter, whether we’ll meet again, no one can tell,” “H.F.S.” from the 1920 “Pioneer” said. “With heavy hearts we leave you, Alma Mater, God’s speed to you and fare you well forever. We leave you now, and we will miss you later; so fare you well, dear college days, forever.”