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February 27, 2017

The Wistrom Legacy: Tending to North Park University for nearly a Century

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Carl Wistrom honored for 35 years of service in Physical Plant, following his father and grandfather

CHICAGO (February 27, 2017) — Carl Wistrom has served in Physical Plant since 1981, first as assistant director and then as director. Physical Plant is responsible for all of the behind-the-scenes work keeping North Park’s spaces functioning. Winter after winter, Carl oversees snow removal. Summer after summer, Carl’s led his team in the maintenance of campus buildings in preparation for the new school year. For 35 years and counting.

But the Wistrom family legacy at North Park stretches further back still: three generations of Wistroms have served North Park by supporting its campus. Carl Wistrom came to North Park just three years before his father, Ivar, retired from his role as campus engineer, a position similar to Carl’s. Ivar’s tenure began in 1947, shortly after his own father, Carl Wistrom (the elder), retired from that same role.

The elder Carl Wistrom, janitor and campus engineer at North Park between 1910 and 1945

Carl does have fond memories of his own father, who trained him in his work at North Park. “My dad was the master. He taught me a lot and had know-how that I don’t have.” More than knowledge, though, Ivar had a “great passion for North Park.” Indeed, this passion was hereditary. Carl notes that he has been truly blessed by the people he works with, and he remembers how his “dad had great people working with him” too.

Ivar Wistrom, chief engineer and physical plant manager from 1947–1984

At an all-staff gathering last month, President David L. Parkyn acknowledged that “as we celebrate Carl’s 35 years at North Park, we simultaneously want to recognize and honor the nearly century of service extended to North Park by each of these three men, Carl, Ivar, and Carl.”

In honor of the Wistrom family, Dr. Parkyn presented a plaque to Carl, which will be located near the entrance to the Physical Plant building.

The plaque reads:

Carl said that he was humbled to have his family honored in this way.


Historical photos courtesy of North Park University Archives.

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