Hofrenning Edits Book About Cobbers in WWII
Sep 30, 2010Dr. James Hofrenning '50, professor emeritus of religion, has edited a collection of 19 stories told by Concordia alumni and faculty of their experiences in World War II.
The book, “Cobbers in WWII: Memoirs from the Greatest Generation,” includes the stories of people familiar to many Cobbers, including Doug Sillers '39, Dr. Hiram Drache, Dr. Olin Storvick, Norman Lorentzsen '41 and Dr. Carl Bailey '40. Interim President Dr. Paul Dovre wrote the preface.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor evaporated prewar isolationism, Concordia students eagerly joined other Americans in rallying to the war effort. One of the characteristics of these writers is their deep, abiding faith that sustained them, especially at the most difficult moments during the war.
“They fought, they suffered, they died because they believed in their cause,” Hofrenning says.
With a 1940s enrollment of less than 500, Concordia lists more than 800 Cobbers who were involved in the war effort.
The war so decimated the male population of the college that one professor is said to have started an address to the student body by saying, “Ladies and three gentlemen.”
By 1948, the enrollment grew to more than 1,300, almost one-third of them veterans who attended with the help of the GI Bill.
“They became pastors, teachers, counselors, attorneys and scores of other professions,” Hofrenning says. “In whatever field they worked, they made significant contributions.”
Hofrenning has firsthand knowledge of the war. He was inducted after finishing high school in 1944 and was serving in the Philippines when the atomic bomb was dropped. He finished his service in Japan with the Occupational Forces.
Hofrenning taught ethics and religion for 30 years, and is the author of a previous book, “Easter People in a Good Friday World: Making Wise Moral Decisions.”
The new book, “Cobbers in WWII: Memoirs from the Greatest Generation,” is available at the Cobber Bookstore or direct from the publisher, Lutheran University Press, in Minneapolis.
Hofrenning will sign copies of his book at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, in the Homecoming registration area of Memorial Auditorium.