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Biography - REV. LAURITZ A. VIGNESS

One of the notable educational institutions for which the pretty little city of Ottawa is justly famed is the Pleasant View Luther College, which though young in years has advanced to the front ranks in an incredibly short period. The building is new and modern in every respect, is heated by steam and lighted by gas, and affords every comfort to the fortunate student who is enrolled as a pupil. The gentleman whose name appears at the commencement of this sketch is the president of the college, and is working indefatigably for the good of the same. His heart and soul are in the enterprise and the genuine interest which he takes in every student must make a favorable impression upon the scholar throughout his life.

In tracing the life history of the worthy president it is found that he comes from the sturdy, manly old Viking stock of Norway. His father, Ole L. Vigness, was born in Finnoe, Norway, and, following the accustomed occupations of the people among whom his youth was passed, he was a fisherman until he was twenty-three years of age. Then the desire to see something of the world and to enter some other field of labor led him to set sail for America. Arriving here in 1856, he went to Rock county, Wisconsin, and found employment in the vicinity of Janesville. In 1859 he took up a homestead of government land in Fillmore county, Minnesota, and at the end of three years, when he had made improvements and had a comfortable home, he married Miss Anna Hallum, likewise a native of Norway. The mother died in 1884, leaving three sons and three daughters to mourn her loss. Carl L., the second son, is now a professor in a college; Mary is the wife of J. Stennes, of Milan, Minnesota; Inga, who resides in the same town, is the wife of J. Johnson; and Emma and Edward are the younger members of the family.

Until he was fifteen years of age Lauritz A. Vigness attended the public schools of his native county, and early evinced unusual aptitude for books. His youthful ambition to enjoy the advantages of a collegiate education finally received fulfillment, and, after passing two years in Marshall (Wisconsin) Academy, he pursued a thorough four-years course of study in a college at Canton, South Dakota. Not satisfied as yet, he then took a classical course at Dixon College, at Dixon, Illinois, graduating in 1885, and was a student at Augustana Theological Seminary at Beloit, Iowa, for one year. In 1887 he became a member of the faculty of the Highland Park University at Des Moines, Iowa, having charge of the classical department, and for four years his labors in that well-known institution met with gratifying success. The presidency of the Jewell Lutheran College, at Jewell, Webster county, Iowa, was then tendered him, and he accepted the responsible charge. The authorities and managers of Pleasant View Luther College at length obtained Mr. Vigness' consent to become president of the institution, and from that time had no doubt as to its future prosperity. As an educator he has few superiors in this or any other state, and systematic methods are noticeable in everything which he undertakes.

In 1887 the marriage of Mr. Vigness and Miss Margaret Krogness was solemnized in Larchwood, Lyon county, Iowa. Mrs. Vigness is a daughter of Rev. S. M. and Johanna (Ammandsen) Krogness, both of whom have passed to their reward. To our subject and wife four sons and a daughter were born, their names being as follows: Joseph Alfred, Orrin Sylvanus, Lewis Martell, Paul Gerhard and Lydia Ruth.

The Pleasant View Luther College has several distinct departments of study, including scientific, literary, commercial, musical, parochial and classical. A competent instructor, a specialist as far as possible, is in charge of each department. The rooms of the students are homelike, and in the boardmg hall they are provided with an abundance of well-prepared, nourishing food. Chapel exercises are a part of the daily routine, and here the students are admonished, brought to a keener sense of their responsibility toward God and man, and are trained in the fundamental principles of noble citizenship. The college is wonderfully prospering, and its present capacity is now well taxed.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 33-35.

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