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Adelbert Arnold Wettstein came to Rollins College in 1968 as a professor and an assistant to the Dean of the Knowles Chapel.  As a patient counselor, insightful thinker, and gifted teacher, he helped Rollins students to continue to be aware of moral issues through services to the community. 

Wettstein was born on January 28, 1928, in Hoboken, New Jersey.  He studied at Princeton, where he received his bachelor's degree.  From the Union Theological Seminary, Wettstein received his B.D., and became an ordained minister in 1951.  He began his graduate studies at Columbia University, but later finished his Ph.D. at McGill University in 1968.

From 1952 until 1954, Wettstein served as a Chaplain in the United States Navy.  He also taught at the University of Vermont and McGill, before coming to Rollins College.  At Rollins, Wettstein has taught courses in World Religions, Contemporary Religious Thought and Religion in America. 

Throughout his Rollins career, Wettstein was also recognized with several awards, including the Arthur Vining Davis Fellowship Award in 1971, the William Fremont Blackman Medal in 1975, the Hugh F. McKean Award in 1979, the George Morgan Ward Medal in 1992, and the Sullivan Medallion in 2005. Wettstein passed away on May 30, 2008.

When you first came to Rollins, what was your impression of the school?
  • "Oh, it was a wonderfully happy place.  The students were very cordial.  They were fun loving and they were easy to get to know... We had friendship and an interest in building community. "


  • "Well, what inspired me was... I felt I couldn’t really teach ethics in an affluent society very well without having a confrontation with the problems as they really are... You just can’t come to any significant ethical conclusions when you’re sitting in your chez lounge or driving your convertible to the beach..."

  • "... My work was just at the beginning of it... our students were so impressed, not only with the soundness of the building that was being constructed, but the responsibility of the home owner in the this whole process...  So they formed the Habitat for Humanity chapter at Rollins College to raise money for the building of homes..."



  • "...Two students who decided that they would like to really identify with the [hunger] problem by becoming a part of it... The students really got a taste of what it was like

  • "... And very often we’d have three wedding’s on a Saturday...  Every young bride in Winter Park and Orlando wanted to be married in that chapel.  Well we couldn’t handle that many so what we decided to do is that we’d only make the services available to alumni or faculty and their families..."

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Tell us about your course of service to the third world country

Could you tell us about your work with Habitat for Humanity here in Winter Park?

Wettstein Comments on the Proactive Nature of Rollins Students in the Community

I understand you have married more than five hundred people over two decades...