John J. Kamerick


John J. Kamerick was UNI's sixth president. He served at UNI from 1970 through 1983. He succeeded James William Maucker. The Kamerick Art Building, erected in 1985, was named in honor of President Kamerick.

President Kamerick was born in 1919 in Ottumwa, Iowa. He earned his B. A. at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, and later earned both his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Iowa. His major course of study in his graduate program was modern European history. President Kamerick began his work in higher education while at the University of Iowa. While attending classes, he taught history at both the University of Iowa and at Marycrest College in Davenport. He served four years in the Navy, from 1942-1946, and earned the rank of lieutenant. In 1951 he became Dean of Lewis College of Science and Technology. In 1956 he moved to Kent, Ohio, to be Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University. Later, he became the Dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts and then Vice-President and Provost. As President of North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, in 1968, he hired the school's first black administrator and encouraged the hiring of more African-American faculty members. After serving two years, he became the president of UNI. He and his wife, Elaine, were married in 1948 and have six children. While President Kamerick was in office at UNI, university status broadened considerably. The Communications/Art Center, Schindler Education Center, Industrial Technology Center, Physical Education Center, and the UNI-Dome are some of the buildings which were constructed during this period. President Kamerick resigned from his position in 1983 to return to teaching. After taking a one year sabbatical, which he used to study at the University of Iowa, he returned to UNI and was a professor of history until his retirement in 1987. The Kamericks are enjoying their retirement in Florida. President Kamerick was succeeded by Constantine William Curris. Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson, Special Collections and University Archives, January 1996.

John J. Kamerick Dr. John J. Kamerick died April 13, 2015, at the age of 95. A funeral mass will be celebrated for him at the Church of the Incarnation in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at 10 a.m. A viewing will be held on Friday, April 17, from 11 a.m. 1 p.m. at Toale Brothers Funeral Home in Sarasota, 40 N. Orange Avenue. He was  loving husband, beloved father, grandfather, and great grandfather, and died peacefully surrounded by his five surviving children in Sarasota, Florida, his home since 1986. Born in Ottumwa, Iowa, Dr. Kamerick received his bachelor's degree from St. Ambrose University, and his master's degree and Ph. D from the University of Iowa, as well as honorary doctorates from Loras College and St. Ambrose University. Dr. Kamerick was president (1970-1983) and professor of history (1983-1987) at the University of Northern Iowa. Under his administration, the Communications/Art Center, Schindler Education Center, Industrial Technology Center, Physical Education Center, and the UNI-Dome were constructed. Upon his retirement from UNI, the Kamericks were honored by having their name placed on a new building, the Kamerick Art Center. A fellowship was established in his name for students pursuing doctorate of education degrees at UNI. Earlier he held the presidency at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) where he instituted reforms such as more faculty governance, courses in African-American history and culture, and promoting the establishment of a chapter of the NAACP, all of which were highlighted in a lengthy profile in the Wall Street Journal. Prior to that he served as academic vice president and provost at Kent State University. Among his memberships he served as chairman of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and President of the Iowa College Association. His biography was carried in Who's Who in America for more than twenty-five years. He was also a Distinguished Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. A veteran of World War II, Dr. Kamerick rose to the rank of Lieutenant (senior grade) on a destroyer/minesweeper, the USS Hogan. He took part in six invasions and survived kamikaze attacks in the Sulu, South, and North China Seas, but he relished telling the story of how his ship was finally damaged: An American pilot dropping his bombs before returning to his ship dropped one near the Hogan, blowing a hole in its side, necessitating the ship's return to the U.S. for repairs. Lieutenant (sg) Kamerick received the Victory Medal and one Battle Star for the Philippine Liberation, and six Battle Stars for the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Dr. Sheila Kamerick, who held a Ph. D in history. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, as well as his son, Michael, consultant and entrepreneur in healthcare research; his daughters, Eileen, SVP/CFO of Incorporated in Tampa; Kathleen, Ph. D and faculty member with the history department at the University of Iowa; Maureen, textile artist and entrepreneur in Newark, Delaware; Megan, independent journalist and producer with New Mexico PBS in Albuquerque; his four grandchildren, Clare, Colleen, Conner, and Matthew, and his great-grandchildren, Genevieve and Julian. Memorial donations may be directed to: Incarnation School in Sarasota; Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and to the John J. Kamerick Fellowship at the University of Northern Iowa.  Copyright Memorial donations may be directed to: Incarnation School in Sarasota; Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota; St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; and to the John J. Kamerick Fellowship at the University of Northern Iowa. - See more at: