William Rieke Papers

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Reference code

UA 1.2.10

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William Rieke Papers

Date(s)

  • 1951 - 1993 (Creation)

Extent

8 boxes (3.5 linear feet)

Name of creator

(1931-2006)

Biographical 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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Scope and content

Papers of William O. Rieke, President of Pacific Lutheran University from 1975-1992. This collection contains materials from Rieke’s term as President of Pacific Lutheran University from 1975 to 1992. It is divided into six series and then arranged chronologically into folders by subject. The first series contains correspondence and meeting transcripts from the presidential search and Rieke’s inauguration as president. The second series contains documents pertaining to Rieke’s family and personal life including programs from his children’s weddings, Christmas cards, and souvenirs from various trips abroad.

The third series is correspondence and memos from Rieke’s term as president. The correspondence involves church contacts, the Board of Regents, and university associates in Norway. The fourth series contains materials about university and community outreach and relations, including news releases, Rieke’s speeches, and documents from a student and staff survey conducted in 1975.The fifth series includes artifacts (largely plaques and other awards) from Dr. Rieke’s career and presidency. The final series includes interviews on cassette tapes with or about Dr. Rieke from the PLU Oral Histories and Lectures Collections.

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