Previous Deans of the College

Joseph E. Steinmetz

2006-2009

Joseph Steinmetz attended Central Michigan University where he received a B.S. in psychology and M.A. in experimental psychology. He earned a Ph.D. in physiological psychology from Ohio University. Steinmetz became a renowned behavioral neuroscientist at Indiana University, where he served as executive associate dean for the College and chair of the Department of Psychology. In 2006, he left Indiana University after 19 years to become dean of the College at KU. In addition to his administrative duties, Steinmetz was a University Distinguished Professor and maintained a neuroscience laboratory. Steinmetz stepped down as dean in 2009 to become executive dean and vice provost of arts and sciences at The Ohio State University. Steinmetz created a new KU tradition with the establishment of Mini College, a week-long learning vacation for adults featuring lectures by KU professors.

 

Kim A. Wilcox

2002-2005

Kim Wilcox earned a B.A. in audiology and speech sciences from Michigan State University, and both his M.S. and Ph.D from Purdue University in speech and hearing. He came to KU in 1984 as an assistant professor of speech, language and hearing, becoming chair of the department in 1989. Following the departure of Frost-Mason, Wilcox was named the 11th dean of the College. During his time at KU, Wilcox established the Native American training program in speech-language pathology in collaboration with the Haskell Indian Nations University. Wilcox left KU in 2005 to become the Provost of Michigan State University.

 

Sally K. Frost-Mason

1995-2001

Sally Frost-Mason earned a B.A. in zoology from the University of Kentucky in 1972, M.S. in developmental biology from Purdue University in 1974 and Ph.D. in cellular, molecular and developmental biology from the University of Arizona in 1978. She came to KU in 1980 as an assistant professor of physiology and cell biology. Frost-Mason became chair of her department in 1986 and was named dean of the College in 1995. Through her tenure, Frost-Mason remained dedicated to teaching and research in addition to the administrative duties. Frost-Mason was instrumental in the expansion of the alternative spring break program for KU students. In 2001, Frost-Mason resigned from the deanship to become provost of Purdue University.

 

James L. Muyskens

1988-1995

James Muyskens received a master’s of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1967 and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1972. Muyskens began his career at Hunter College in New York as an assistant professor of philosophy. He took on a number of administrative roles at Hunter, including chair of the philosophy department, acting provost, and vice president. In 1988, after spending 17 years at Hunter, Muyskens arrived at KU to fill the role of dean of the College. During his time as dean, Muyskens was focused on improving the quality of entry level liberal arts courses. He resigned as dean to join the University System of Georgia as its senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

 

Robert L. Lineberry

1981-1988

Robert Lineberry received his B.A. from the University of Oklahoma in 1964 and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969. Prior to coming to KU, Lineberry served at Northwestern University as a professor of political science. In 1981, he was named dean of the College at KU. Lineberry led a campaign to further the breadth of a liberal arts education. This initiative encouraged early and continuous enrollment in English and mathematics. He also made mandatory an extra semester of mathematics, a non-western civilization course and principle courses in the social sciences and humanities. In 1988, Lineberry stepped down as dean to refocus his attention on academic pursuits.

 

Robert P. Cobb

1975-1980

Robert Cobb received his B.A. in English from Baylor University in 1949. He then attended the University of Michigan, earning his M.A. in 1950 and Ph.D. in 1955, both in English. Cobb began teaching at KU as an assistant professor of English in 1957. In 1975, he became dean of the College, a position he would hold until 1980 when he was appointed executive vice chancellor of KU. After being an integral member of the university’s administration, Cobb returned to the English department in 1986 as a professor emeritus. During his time as dean, Cobb focused on recruiting outstanding junior faculty members to KU in order to meet growing enrollment levels and ensure the future quality of the university’s faculty.

 

George R. Waggoner

1954-1975

George Waggoner received B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from KU. Waggoner served in the U.S. Naval Intelligence Division from 1942-1945. Upon completion of his service, Waggoner attended the University of Wisconsin, earning a Ph.D. in English in 1947. He taught at Indiana University for several years before returning to KU in 1954 as dean of the College. Waggoner served 21 years before he was named KU’s vice chancellor for student affairs in 1975. He retired to the English department in 1981, during which time he was named professor emeritus. Waggoner is known for his role in establishing the undergraduate honors program at KU in 1955, as well as his work to foster the development of educational connections between KU and Latin America.

 

Paul Bowen Lawson

1933-1954

Paul Lawson was born in Sitapur, India, the third child of missionary parents. His education began at the Philander Smith Institute in Mussoorie at the age of seven. By age 15, his mother had moved the children to Oberlin, Ohio, where Lawson would discover his passion for the natural sciences. Lawson attended John Fletcher College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he received his B.S. in 1909. After teaching biology at John Fletcher for five years, Lawson found his way to KU, where he obtained his M.S. in 1917 and Ph.D. in 1919. Lawson became an assistant professor of entomology at KU in 1920. He was named dean of the College in 1933, a position he held for 21 years. During his tenure as dean, Lawson began restructuring the academic format of the College. His adjustments made mandatory an additional 60 credit hours in a wider variety of liberal arts and sciences courses.

 

Joseph Granger Brandt

1920-1933

Joseph Brandt graduated from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1903, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1911. Three years later, he left Wisconsin for KU where he served as a professor of Greek. Brandt assumed the position of dean of the College in 1920. His relentless dedication to his administrative duties and noted loyalty to teaching and his students were believed to be the cause of health issues he battled for many years. He passed away at age 53. Chancellor Lindley described Brandt’s dedication by saying, “Endowed with a fine brain, he found the pursuit of a liberal education a great and glorious adventure. He explored the cultures of Greece and Rome with the same zest that Byrd sought the South Pole."

 

Olin Templin

1903-1920

Olin Templin began teaching at the age of 15 as a country school teacher in Hutchison, Kansas, and continued to do so until he enrolled at KU in 1881. He graduated from the university in 1886, receiving his B.D, B.H, B.S., M.A., and M.S. As a faculty member at KU, Templin held positions as both a professor of mathematics and philosophy. In 1903, he was named the dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He is remembered for his contributions to the development of the College through the expansion of the endowment association, the creation of residence halls and his role in the establishment of the alumni magazine.

 

Ephraim Miller

1895-1903

Ephraim Miller began teaching at age 14, a career he would continue to pursue for some 60 years. He attended Allegheny College where he earned a B.A. in 1855 and a M.A. in 1858. Miller arrived at KU in 1874 as a professor of mathematics, although he quickly became involved in teaching astronomy as well. He served as librarian of the university for 13 years and was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1895, a position he held until 1903. Miller dedicated 36 years to the development and growth of KU.

 

David Hamilton Robinson

1892-1895

David Robinson was one of the three original paid KU faculty members at the time of the institution’s establishment in 1866. Along with Professor Snow and Professor Rice, the three served as the foundation from which the university would build. Robinson graduated from Rochester University with high honors in 1855, later returning to Rochester to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. In 1872, Robinson became chair of Latin Languages and Literature at KU, a position he held until his death of typhoid fever in 1895. Robinson was the first to undertake the coordination and management of the faculty, serving many years as secretary of the general faculty.

 

Histories compiled by Matt Etzel, a 2010 College graduate who received a B.A. in sociology, with assistance from KU’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

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