Cyrus W. Lantz

TO: All Faculty and Staff Members
FROM: Clifford G. McCollum, Dean, College of Natural Sciences
DATE: 11 September 1979

Dr. Cyrus W. Lantz, emeritus professor of biology and former head of the Department of Science, died Monday evening, 10 September 1979, at Sartori Hospital.

Dr. Lantz was born on a farm near Brooklyn, Illinois, 27 June 1889. He received degrees of A.B. with Honors, A.M., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. His major field was botany. Before coming to University of Northern Iowa (Iowa State Teachers College) in 1921, he had taught in high schools in Illinois and had been an Assistant Professor of Botany at the University of Nevada-Reno. He became head of the Department of Science at the University in 1947. He retired in 1957, but he continued to teach on a part-time basis until 1967.

Dr. Lantz was a member of Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi, Beta Beta Beta, National Association of Biology Teachers, American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Botanical Society of America. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Science and was president of the Academy in 1942-43. The Academy during the observance in 1975 of the 100th anniversary of its founding gave Dr. Lantz one of the 26 citations that were given to outstanding Academy members and scientists from throughout the state.

He was a member of the Cedar Falls Rotary Club and served as its president in 1937-38. He was a member of the Cedar Falls Library Board from 1946 until 1964 and was president of the Board during a part of this tenure. In 1976 the lecture-auditorium in the Science Building at University of Northern Iowa was named the C. W. Lantz Auditorium in recognition of his long and valuable services to the University. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, 13 September 1979, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dahl-VanHove-Schoof Funeral Home. Interment will be in Fairview Cemetery.


Cyrus W. Lantz was born at the family farm near Brooklyn, Illinois, on 27 June 1889. He received the A.B. (with Honors), A.M., and the Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois with an emphasis in botany. He remained to teach for some time in Illinois high schools before leaving the state to assume an Assistant Professorship of Botany at the University of Nevada-Reno. In 1921 Dr. Lantz was invited to join the Department of Natural Science faculty at the Iowa State Teachers College. He served as head of the Department of Science, an alliance of the Departments of Natural and Physical Sciences, from 1948 until his formal retirement in 1957; however, he continued to teach as an Emeritus Professor on a part-time basis until 1967.

During his 47 year tenure at the College, now the University of Northern Iowa, he participated and served in many civic, professional, and collegiate capacities. For many years Dr. Lantz was a member of the Cedar Falls Library Board and acted as president during a part of his tenure. He was a member of the Cedar Falls Rotary Club and served as its president during 1937-38. Professionally, he was an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Iowa Academy of Science. During 1942-43 he served as president of the Academy and at the 100th anniversary celebration in 1975 Dr. Lantz was cited as one of 26 outstanding Academy members and scientists from throughout the state. He also held memberships in several honorary and professional societies.

Many of Dr. Lantz's students, colleagues, and friends will remember his interest in Iowa's native flora and fauna and his active efforts to develop out-of-doors facilities at the College. Some students may specifically recall his inventory and monitoring interests at the College or Botanical Garden, now designated the University Avenue Preserve. Still others may recall his interests in developing a Biology Preserve along the west branch of Dry Run Creek where several pine trees stand as sentinels to this concerted effort.

Dr. Lantz continued to promote the development of a University Preserve System even following his "second retirement." This is best exemplified by his publication, "The Clay Prairie in Butler County, Iowa (1970, Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci. 76:109-112) which provides a list of the 98 vascular plants found in the then recently acquired preserve. In 1975 he also presented the Biological Preserves Committee with a detailed historical sketch of the College Garden which he compiled from personal notes, University documents, communications with former students, and recollections. Until a few months prior to his death, he frequently took his walk through one of the several on-campus preserves or enjoyed accompanying a group of students to an off-campus preserve.


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu