Former Chancellor Kerrigan dies at 76
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 08:11
Former UW Oshkosh Chancellor John Kerrigan died Monday in Dallas, Texas at the age of 76.
Kerrigan was the ninth chancellor of Oshkosh and served the University from 1990-2000. During his time as chancellor, Kerrigan improved community ties with the Oshkosh businesses and was dedicated to education, faulty and diversity on campus.
“[Kerrigan] was really dedicated to student-faculty relationships and he worked hard to raise private funds to help supplement faculty’s work and scholarships for students,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said.
While at Oshkosh Kerrigan started the Honorary Doctorate program in 1992, expanded professorships with the University’s Endowment for Excellence in 1993 and created the Center for Community Partnerships in 1997.
“[Kerrigan] helped to raise the visibility and stature of UW Oshkosh during a time when we were poised for growth,” Special Assistant to the Chancellor, who also worked with Kerrigan, Tom Grogan said. “His vision for the future helped guide, shape and influence many aspects of the University’s present strengths.”
Wells said what stands out the most in Kerrigan’s educational career was his international work and establishing partnerships with universities in other parts of the world.
Kerrigan visited more than 30 countries during his lifetime and built many partnerships in Oman, Qatar, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Morocco.
According to Grogan, Kerrigan established a strong relationship between the University of Nizwa in Oman and UW Oshkosh, and his efforts have helped educational leaders in Oman develop and advance visions for private and non-profit educational institutions.
“When John first started, it was just an idea on a piece of paper,” Wells said. “Now there are 8,000 students that attend the University of Nizwa, and 80 percent [are] women.”
Kerrigan retired in 2000, but stayed at the University to help transition Wells into his new position as chancellor, where “he was very supportive, very helpful [and] very kind in that transition,” Wells said.
A funeral mass will be held at 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, 830 S. Westhaven Dr., Oshkosh.
UW Oshkosh is also working on a 2013 spring retrospect of Kerrigan’s years at Oshkosh, “so there will be another time to reflect on Kerrigan’s accomplishments,” Wells said.
“John Kerrigan taught many of us important lessons about how to build bridges,” Grogan said. “It is that commitment to friendship and support that will continue to guide and inspire our actions.”