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Wettstein, A. Arnold Collection

Identifier: PP-Wettstein

Scope and Contents

This collection covers Dr. Wettstein's years as a theological student all the way through to his years at Rollins College as the Dean of the Knowles Memorial Chapel and professor of religion.  A preponderance of the collection are the sermons produced by Dr. Wettstein during his career; some are dated and accompanied by the church program, some are typed, and many are handwritten.  The collection also includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, research and reference materials for teaching, notes from his student days, awards and honors received, audio and visual media, and contracts with Rollins College.


  • Created: 1928-2008
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1960-1992


Conditions Governing Access

Open access.

Biographical or Historical Information

Adelbert Arnold Wettstein was born to the Reverend Adelbert Quarto Wettstein and Adeline Rohrer on January 28, 1928, in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Arnold, one of three boys, began his college career at Princeton University wanting to be a physician, yet quickly determined that society's ills were "spiritual rather than physical."  As such, he switched his studies to theology and after earning his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton in 1948, Arnold entered the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1951, where he graduated Cum Laude.  On June 19, 1951, he was ordained into the ministry at his father's Reformed Church of Hoboken. Reverend Wettstein began his graduate studies at Columbia University in New York; however, he left to serve as an interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown (where he met his future wife Marguerite), and then again quickly shifted his focus and became a Navy Chaplain, commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, on December 19, 1951.  Wettstein served in the Navy as a chaplain until 1954; and he remained in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1961. Upon his leaving the Navy chaplaincy, Rev. Wettstein married Marguerite Bausmann Verdier on June 4, 1954 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Marguerite's hometown. After the wedding, the couple returned to New York where Rev. Wettstein resumed his graduate studies at Columbia University. He also quickly found work as the Minister of Religious Education at the Community Church of Great Neck, NY, where he resided from 1954 until 1956. He left his job and graduate school in 1956 to become an Associate Minister at the Shiloh Congregational Church in Dayton, Ohio from 1956 through 1960. In 1960, Rev. Wettstein accepted a position as Minister at the Community Church of Vero Beach in Vero Beach, FL.  He remained in Vero Beach from 1960-1966, at which time the Reverend and his family (which now included his three children, Deborah, Theodore, and John F.) relocated so that he could resume his graduate studies, this time at McGill University in Montreal. Rev. Wettstein earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion in 1968, all the while working as a teaching assistant at McGill (1966-1968), as an Instructor at the University of Vermont (1967), and as a Minister at the United Church of Canada in Boucherville, near Montreal. Shortly after his graduation, Dr. Wettstein came to Rollins College in September of 1968 as an Assistant Professor of Religion and Assistant to the Dean of Knowles Memorial Chapel.  In 1972, Dr. Wettstein became Associate Professor of Religion, and in 1973 he was appointed as the Dean of Knowles Memorial Chapel, and served in that capacity until 1992, while continuing his professorship at Rollins until 1998. In addition to his service to Rollins College, Dr. Wettstein was active with the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, served as chaplain of the Ethics Committee of the Mayflower Retirement Center, was the President of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, and a member of the North American Paul Tillich Society of Theologians. During his tenure in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Rollins, Dr. Wettstein taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels.  He designed and taught courses on world religions, contemporary religious thoughts, alternative religions, and religions in America.  He also participated in service learning courses in Jamaica, Guatemala, Uganda, and Ghana.  First and foremost, however, Dr. Wettstein was the Dean of the Knowles Memorial Chapel, and in such capacity he was not only the minister of the College, but also responsible for all chapel services and religious programs held in the Knowles Memorial Chapel.  In this role, Dr. Wettstein produced over 1,000 sermons and officiated at more than 500 weddings.  In 1992, Dr. Wettstein was elevated to the rank of Dean of the Chapel Emeritus; in 1998 for his work in academics, he was elevated to Professor Emeritus of Religion.  Then, in 2006, to cap off his many other accomplishments and awards, Dr. Wettstein was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters by the president of Rollins College. Arnold Wettstein departed this world on May 30, 2008.

Note written by Rebecca Rieve


4.59 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged in four series as follows: Series 1 provides biographical information on Arnold Wettstein.  The series includes not only biographical information on Wettstein and his family, but also information culled from the faculty files (such as contracts and awards), correspondence (both personal and professional), and the transcript of an oral history interview. Series 2 is exclusive to the multitudes of sermons produced by Wettstein during his career.  Since not all of the sermons were dated, they have been arranged alphabetically.  The sermons cover his time as Minister of the Community Church of Vero Beach beginning in 1960 until his retirement from Rollins College in 1992. Series 3 focuses on Wettstein's education track, both as a student and then as an instructor.  This series is divided into two sub-series, the first dealing with Wettstein's years as a theological student, and the second covering his time as an instructor of religion at Rollins College. Series 4 consists of cassette tapes and VHS tapes.  The cassette tapes are a mixture of Dr. Wettstein's recorded sermons, music, and interviews, and the VHS tapes are interviews of Dr. Wettstein.  Additional cassette tapes of Dr. Wettstein's sermons are available in the Audio-visual Collection in the archives.

Source of Acquisition

Sermons and AV materials are donated to the College Archives by Dr. Wettstein's children in spring 2015.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Some photos of Dr. Wettstein are filed in the Rollins Photographic Collection; additional information are available via the Golden Personality and the archival Oral History Interview projects.;

Archon Finding Aid Title
Rebecca Rieve
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Rollins College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Rollins College Box 2768
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park 32789-4499 US