Dr. Arthur Selke

Dr. Selke.tif


Dr. Arthur Selke

Biographical Text

Dr. Arthur Selke taught for 33 years at Dickinson State College. He came to the campus in 1927, and taught courses in geography and geology, and served as chairman of the Division of Social Sciences. Teaching seemed to be in the blood of the Selke family, for his grandfather and two of his brothers and a sister also had long and distinguished careers as educators.

Dr. Selke was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He received his standard certificate from State Teachers College at St. Cloud, Minnesota, B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota. He also studied at the University of Chicago, and the Universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim in Germany.

Dr. Selke's career in teaching and administration included rural, secondary and college levels, and took him to Woodstock Illionis; Winton, Minnesota; Black Hills State College Spearfish, South Dakota; and Ball State University in Muncie Indiana.

Dr. Selke had a habit of never wearing a heavy coat to the campus, as he and his family lived only a short distance away, in spite of the fact he had a lovely sheepskin coat which would have kept him warm. He was known for the fact that he found his suit coat adequate, even in the coldest weather. During the time of Navy V-12 students, this habit was caricatured during one of the skits that group produced the skit finished with a frozen figure being carried from the stage.

Dr. Selke is also credited with building, by himself, the house where the family lived while in Dickinson. It was said that Dr. Selke never forgot a student who had been in one of his classes. One former student. . . said it this way: "My summer college session of 1958 brought me into his classroom to take Geography 100. Dr. Selke had me sit in the seat used by my father quite a few years ago. He not only remembered my father, but he remembered the exact desk he had sat in at school."

Another student recalls his association with Dr. Selke thus: "How often I remember the time when he made time in his own busy schedule to show two shy but interested young college students through the museum in which he has been so intensely interested."

Selke Hall was opened at the beginning of the summer session in 1960, and was formally dedicated in Dr. Selke's name on July 7 of that year. Selke Hall was the seventh major building to be constructed on the college campus. During the dedication ceremony, President DeLong said: "It is appropriate that this new building be named Arthur Selke Hall. Dr. Selke has served the college 33 years and is recognized as a great teacher and truly fine gentleman.

Tragedy entered the life of Dr. Selke when his wife, the former Esther Abbertmeyer, and his daughter Carla, lost their lives in a train accident in New York on September 15, 1958, exactly thirteen years before Dr. Selke's death. His daughter Esther, Mrs Dean Freiday, survives and lives in New Jersey.

This reclusive gentleman, so willing to give of himself and of the knowledge he accumulated through the years, served "The College on the Hill" during a long and honorable tenure, and Selke Hall stands as a reminder of his labors.



“Dr. Arthur Selke ,” Dickinson State University Archive, accessed May 26, 2024, https://www.dsuarchive.com/items/show/32.