One of the renowned evangelists of the mid-twentieth century was Walter A. Maier (1893-1950), author, radio broadcaster and professor. Blessed with a sharp mind and clear voice, he hosted The Lutheran Hour from 1930-1950. Maier was closely associated with Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he taught Semitic languages. In addition to his administrative and pastoral duties, he traveled widely, advocating classic, conservative Christianity, preaching and teaching in churches, seminaries, festivals and schools, including Wheaton College.
In 1940, the annual Washington Banquet was cancelled; subsequently, Wheaton College students were encouraged by acting president V. Raymond Edman to contribute the money they would have spent at this event to the Christian Relief Fund for Finnish and Chinese Christians in war zones. Instead of the usual pageantry associated with the Washington Banquet, typically hosted at a local hotel, students met for an informal program in Pierce Chapel, where Walter A. Maier was the honored guest for the evening. Maier also occasionally preached chapels at Wheaton College.