Ernest C. Fossum

May 23, 1989
TO: The University Community
FROM: Muriel B. Stone, Director

I regret to announce that Ernest C. Fossum died on Sunday, May 21, 1989, at Sartori Hospital after suffering a stroke. Services were held at the Kaiser-Corson Funeral Home with burial at Fairview Cemetery. There was no visitation.

You may wish to address your condolences to Mr. Fossum's widow, Julia "Judy", and their family at 2500 Walnut St., Cedar Falls, 50613.

Dr. Fossum served the University in a variety of positions and responsibilities. Ernest was a faculty member and administrator from 1943, when he joined the Department of English and Speech, to 1973 when he retired as the Director of the Placement Bureau. He served the Department of English and Speech for fifteen years. During that time he developed and directed the Speech and Hearing Clinic. He was also engaged in extension work throughout the state, working with children who had speech handicaps and promoting the need for speech correction with teachers and administrators.

During the war years, Dr. Fossum was one of several male faculty members who performed with the campus theater to meet the "male shortage" of actors in theater productions.

In 1958, Dr. Fossum was assigned to the Placement Bureau and became the Assistant to the Director in 1959. Three years later he was appointed the Director of the Placement Bureau. During his tenure as Director, the teaching market had high demands and a short supply. The University enrollment nearly tripled with 75% of the graduates heading towards teaching careers. In order to meet the demand of both candidates and school administrators, Dr. Fossum was among the first in the country to computerize the vacancy bulletin which listed job openings made known to the Bureau. This was a major transformation of services to students and alumni. At the end of his directorship, the job market for teachers had completely changed with very few jobs available for the number of candidates. In addition, the mix of majors and interests of students required the Bureau to expand into business areas of placement not previously desired by candidates.

Dr. Fossum served the University and its constituency with dedication and loyalty. During his thirty years, he initiated services that still continue to impact students and alumni.

We extend our sympathy to Mrs. Fossum and all of their family.


Services for Ernest C. Fossum, 83, of 2500 Walnut St.. will be 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Kaiser -Corson Funeral Home with burial in Fairview Cemetery. He died early Sunday morning, May 21, 1989, at Sartori Memorial Hospital after a stroke.

He was born June 22, 1905, in Pierpont, South Dakota, son of George J. and Ellen Knudson Fossum. He married Julia "Judy" Spickler on December 27, 1935, in Illinois City, Illinois.

He was a graduate of Pierpont High School and received a bachelor's degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Iowa.

He taught in the public schools of North and South Dakota, at West Port High School and Kansas City Junior College, Kansas City, Missouri, and at the University of Missouri Columbia. In 1943, he joined the Department of English and Speech at the University of Northern Iowa. After serving fifteen years in that department, he became assistant director and later director of the UNI Placement Bureau, where he remained until his retirement in 1972.

Survivors include his wife, a daughter, Mrs. Barbara Bell of Denver, Colorado; two sons, Randall of Cupertino, California, and Hugh of Goffstown, New Hampshire; a sister, Mrs. Rose Erdahl of Mobridge, South Dakota; and six grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

There will be no visitation. Memorials may be made to the UNI Speech and Hearing Clinic.

Copyright Waterloo Courier, May 22, 1989


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