Dr. Olin J. Storvick, professor emeritus of classical studies and classicist-in-residence, died Saturday, June 16, at the age of 92.
Storvick was an important presence at Concordia for more than 60 years. He has been widely recognized as one of the giants in the history of the college for his superb teaching and scholarship and his active engagement of students, together with his service to the college, the ELCA and society. He joined the Concordia faculty in 1955 after earning his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in 1949 and his master’s degree in Greek from the University of Michigan in 1950. He was a Fulbright and Danforth Scholar and, while teaching at Concordia, went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1968. He served Concordia in many leadership capacities, including twice as the associate dean of the college.
Storvick’s scholarly work relied on extensive research that placed him in worldwide libraries and in fields far-flung. In 1971, he began a long-standing association with archaeological expeditions in Israel. In 1993, he and a group of Concordia students discovered 99 fourth-century Byzantine gold coins at an excavation site at Caesarea Maritima in Israel. This was one of the largest hoards of privately owned gold coins ever discovered from this period, and the finding was highlighted by the international and national media as well as documented in scholarly articles by Storvick and his collaborators.
Storvick held memberships in several organizations of classical studies, archaeology and biblical literature. In 1988, he received the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship in recognition of superior classroom teaching and significant service to the college and the church. In 2002, the Olin J. Storvick Endowed Chair of Classical Studies was established. The criteria for the chair in honor of this stellar teacher-scholar reads: “a faculty member who models Concordia’s mission as a college of the church, is a teacher of unusual competence, has made a sustained contribution to teaching, is an active scholar, has contributed significantly to his area of study and expertise, and teaches classical studies courses.” That description is fitting since it so well describes the man for whom it is named and who serves as the model for future generations of Concordia College professors. In 2017, Storvick received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Concordia College.
He served in the military during World War II as a platoon sergeant in the 27th Infantry Division and was awarded a Purple Heart. Some of Storvick’s recollections of the war can be found in a book by Dr. James Hofrenning ’50 titled, “Cobbers in WWII: Memoirs from the Greatest Generation.”
He was a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead and was extensively involved in the Boy Scouts. Storvick and his wife, Ruth, who passed away in 2014, have five children: Helen, Rolf, Solveig, Karen and Eric.