Rieke, William O.

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Rieke, William O.

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1931-2006

History

William O. Rieke was born on April 26, 1931 in Odessa, Washington, and raised in Cashmere, Washington. He graduated summa cum laude from Pacific Lutheran College in 1953 and completed his MD from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

Prior to coming to PLU, Rieke worked at UW’s Medical School as an instructor and researcher, focusing on the emerging field of cancer research and eventually becoming Dean of the School of Medicine. He also helped establish a new medical school in Wichita, Kansas, to help service the state’s rural western regions.

In 1975, Dr. Rieke became the eleventh president of Pacific Lutheran University. While serving as President, Rieke worked to strengthen the international ties of the university, which eventually led to being named a Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by King Olav V in 1989. He reinforced PLU’s reputation as an institution with a strong liberal arts program and five professional schools, and in 1985 the Board of Regents honored Rieke by naming the university’s new science building after him. After retiring from PLU, Rieke accepted a position as Executive Director with the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, where he served for ten years.

Rieke died in 2006 after a battle with cancer.

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President, Pacific Lutheran University: 1975-1992

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UA 1.2.10

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