Laurence Fossler

Laurence Fossler

Laurence Fossler was the professor of German language at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1889 to 1926. His work interpreting, translating, and writing material for use in classroom is part of his lasting legacy on the University's campus and throughout academia.

Born in Würtemburg, Germany, Fossler immigrated to the US in 1872 at age 15, speaking no English. He attended the University, graduating in 1881, and traveled back to Europe for a year of study at the University of Paris and Berlin. Upon his return to Nebraska he took a teaching position at Lincoln High School and, in 1889, was offered a job at the University teaching German language. By 1891, German had become so popular that the subject was given its own department, of which Fossler was in charge. 

When World War I broke out, interest in German language and culture dropped off sharply and the German department was absorbed in the Romantic language department. But at the war's end the program found renewed attendance, becoming the second largest department in the University (Fling, 1933)

Fossler was beloved by his students and follow professors, alike, and upon his death in 1933, all classes where dismissed in his honor (Thompson, 1933).