His father was professor of New Testament exegesis at Luther Seminary of the Norwegian Synod. During Carl's early boyhood, Luther Seminary moved to the Hamline district of St. Paul and this is where he grew up. Graduating from Central High School in 1913, he entered Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, finishing in 1917. That fall he matriculated at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary and completed his courses in the spring of 1920. He spent the fall and early winter of 1920 in graduate study at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Ylvisaker came to Concordia College in 1927 to chair the religion department and exerted a tremendous influence on the Concordia community during his 19 years here. Ylvisaker taught religion, counseled campus religious organizations, gave his summers to Bible camps, coached tennis, was the dean of men for two years and was an unforgettable teacher who was sought out by students for his gentle but firm counsel.
Dr. Ylvisaker was noted by students as being a remarkable speaker and possessing great humility and kindness. He once said, “If you train men’s minds but not their morals, you train clever devils.” Many students sought him out for advice, and he consistently provided wise counsel. In 1956, at the request of students, Concordia’s new library was named in his honor. A bronze relief of Rev. Ylvisaker greets patrons at the library’s entrance.
In 1933, Dr. Ylvisaker married Marie Sletvold (1905-1975). Their five children are all alumni of Concordia.
At his funeral in April 1945, Ylvisaker was eulogized as a teacher who possessed "a willingness to share with others in a humble and sincere way the joy he had found in Christ Jesus."
History and photos courtesy of the Concordia College Archives.