June 18, 2020

UW-Superior mourns passing of former chancellor Karl Meyer

Karl Meyer Jr., the sixth president/chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, passed away May 30 at the age of 95. Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987.

Karl Meyer Jr., the sixth president/chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, passed away May 30 at the age of 95. Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987.

Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987

Karl Meyer Jr., the sixth president/chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, passed away May 30 at the age of 95.  

Meyer, the son of Karl Wilhelm Sr. and Rosina “Lena” Meyer who immigrated to the United States from Germany after World War I, was born May 8, 1925 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the United States Air Corps in 1943 and went to Europe during World War II. After the war, Meyer spent time traveling with the special forces basketball team before returning to the United States.

He was married in 1950 to Margery Rose Hamman. The couple had five children in their 70 years together.

In 1946 Meyer attended Valparaiso University where he obtained his undergraduate degree in history and English followed by a master's degree in history from the University of Maryland when he studied abroad at the University of Basel. He obtained a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a postdoctoral Carnegie Fellowship in higher education from the University of Michigan.

An advocate for education, Meyer spent a lifetime as a professional educator. He taught at Valparaiso University, Augustana College and UW-Eau Claire. Meyer also held educational administrative positions as dean of instruction at Wayne State Teacher’s College in Nebraska, assistant director of the Wisconsin State University Board of Regents.

Meyer’s professional activities included research, historical contributions in professional journals and the Encyclopedia Britannica, and author of the book “Karl Liebknecht: Man Without a Country.”  

Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987. In his 23 years in leadership, Meyer oversaw the biggest expansion of the campus in the history of the university. The developments began with Gates Physical Education Building, the Jim Dan Hill Library, Siinto S. Wessman Arena, Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center, residence halls, Halbert Heating Plant, and the third phase of development of the Rothwell Student Center. On one occasion, four new buildings were dedicated in one day.

Another major initiative of Meyer was the Center for Continuing Education/Extension. Designed to serve nontraditional learners, the center was ahead of its time in the 1970s and led to the online programs offered today.

The college was granted university status in 1964. In 1972 it became part of the new University of Wisconsin System and was renamed the University of Wisconsin-Superior. At that time, his title of president was changed to chancellor.

Meyer was also involved with numerous community activities including Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, United Way; WDSE and KBJR boards, Superior Water, Light, and Power board, UW-Superior Foundation Board, and Mt. Senario College Board.

Karl Meyer Jr., the sixth president/chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, passed away May 30 at the age of 95. Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987.

Karl Meyer Jr., the sixth president/chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, passed away May 30 at the age of 95. Meyer guided UW-Superior during an era of substantial growth from 1964 to 1987.

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