John J. Kamerick was UNI's sixth president. He served at UNI from 1970 through 1983. He succeeded James William Maucker . The Kamerick Art Building, erected in 1985, was named in honor of Kamerick.
Kamerick was born in 1919 in Ottumwa, Iowa. He earned his B.A. at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, and later earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa. His major course of study in his graduate program was modern European history.
Kamerick began his work in higher education while at the University of Iowa. While attending classes, he taught history at both the University of Iowa and at Marycrest College in Davenport. He served four years in the Navy, from 1942-1946, and earned the rank of lieutenant. In 1951 he became Dean of Lewis College of Science and Technology. In 1956 he moved to Kent, Ohio, to be Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University. Later, he became the Dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts and then Vice-President and Provost. As President of North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, in 1968, he hired the school's first black administrator and encouraged the hiring of more African-American faculty members. After serving two years, he became the president of UNI. He and his wife, Elaine, were married in 1948 and have six children.
While President Kamerick was in office, University status broadened considerably. The Communications/Art Center, Schindler Education Center, Industrial Technology Center, Physical Education Center, and the UNI-Dome are some of the buildings which were constructed during this period.
President Kamerick resigned from his position in 1983 to return to teaching. After taking a one year sabbatical, which he used to study at the University of Iowa, he returned to UNI and was a professor of history until his retirement in 1987.
The Kamericks are enjoying their retirement in Florida. President Kamerick was succeeded by Constantine William Curris .
Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson
Special Collections and University Archives