Christian Keyser (C. K.) Preus was born on October 13, 1852 in the Spring Prairie parsonage of Wisconsin to Herman Amberg Preus and Caroline (Linka) Keyser Preus. He enrolled at Luther College in 1865, but contracted typhoid fever and was forced to withdraw until 1868, when he resumed his studies. He was on Luther's first baseball team and moved on to study at Concordia Seminary after graduating from Luther, becoming a parish minister in Spring Prarie, Wisconsin. He married Louise Augusta Hjort in 1877 while in Spring Prarie. In 1898 Preus accepted a teaching job in the preparatory department at Luther College, where he was an instructor in both religion and Norwegian and taught until 1902, when he became the second president of Luther College until his death on May 28, 1921.