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andrea.rohlena@witcc.edu
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Robert Kiser, Founding President of Western Iowa Tech, Dies at Age 91

Posted on: March 31, 2016

Dr. Robert H. Kiser, 91, died on Friday, March 25 at Holy Spirit Retirement Home in Sioux City, Iowa.  It is believed he was the last surviving member of the original group of founding presidents for all the Iowa community colleges.  At the time of his retirement, Dr. Kiser stated that he was the last one of the original community college chief administrators to be in office.

Following the election of the first board of directors for Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) in November 1966, the board selected Dr. Kiser to serve as the school’s first chief administrator.  He served as president for 25 years until his retirement in 1991 when he was named President Emeritus.  He was a passionate and lifelong supporter of vocational and technical education.

In June 1973, Governor Robert Ray appointed Dr. Kiser to the Iowa Vocational Educational Advisory Council. He became a major force in shaping the direction of vocational and technical education across the state.  Dr. Kiser exerted his influence to develop educational programs designed to meet the post-secondary needs for many who were not served by existing institutions. He believed in a strong adult education program to enhance the quality of life for countless individuals.

Kiser received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Drake University in Des Moines.  He earned his Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

Dr. Robert Dunker succeeded Dr. Kiser after his retirement.  As Dr. Dunker stated, “Dr. Kiser was always noted as a man of integrity, totally dedicated to vocational education in America.  Dr. Terry Murrell has been the president of Western Iowa Tech Community College since 2011.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Sioux City.  A reception honoring Dr. Kiser will be held after the service at 3:30 p.m. in the ACE Room of the Dr. Robert H. Kiser Building at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City.

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