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UC Mourns The Passing Of President Emeritus Winkler


The University of Cincinnati community was saddened to learn of the death of President Emeritus Henry R. Winkler. Known as a dedicated scholar, Winkler is the only UC alumnus to serve as president of the university.

Date: 12/27/2012 4:35:00 PM
By: Greg Hand
Phone: (513) 556-1822

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati community was saddened to learn of the death of Henry R. Winkler at the age of 96 on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

"Dr. Winkler will be remembered for his leadership of UC during its first years as a state university," said UC President Santa J. Ono, "and for being the first UC graduate to serve as UC president. He holds a special place in our collective heart as a kind and gracious member of the UC family who was always a welcome face at university events."

When Henry R. Winkler was named executive vice president of the University of Cincinnati, the appointment marked his return to the institution where he earned his A.B. (1938) and M.A. (1940) degrees. In December of 1977, at the age of 61, Winkler was selected as UC’s 23rd president. He remains the only alumnus to hold the university’s chief executive office. Throughout a long and distinguished career, Winkler established an outstanding reputation as a scholar, educator and administrator.

President Emeritus Henry R. Winkler
President Emeritus Henry R. Winkler

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Winkler graduated high school at age 16 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He moved in with an uncle and aunt in Cincinnati and worked at local department stores to earn tuition to UC. Although he excelled at his studies and found time to run track, Winkler’s finances were strained. After his sophomore year, he dropped out for a year and worked in New York restaurants and a Connecticut factory.Returning to UC, he finished three years of studies in two years, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

Winkler joined the faculty of Rutgers University in 1947, the year he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. It was also the year he was discharged from the United States Navy, in which he had spent World War II as an intelligence officer (Japanese language specialty) in the Pacific.

At Rutgers, he was promoted to associate professor in 1952 and full professor in 1958. He chaired the department of history and was dean of the faculty of Liberal Arts. Throughout the early 1970s, he accepted administrative posts as senior vice president for academic affairs, executive vice president, and acting president later. While at Rutgers he was one of the founders of the Advanced Placement Program and began extended service as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the College Entrance Examination Board. He also served as president of the Highland Park, New Jersey, board of education.

At the University of Cincinnati, Winkler demonstrated his ability to build academic quality while dealing with the complex environment of an urban university. He retained his association with the College Board and was active in the creation of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities). He continued to teach almost every quarter while contributing to scholarly articles and books.

Winkler wrote or edited seven books, primarily on British history, including The Development of the League of Nations Idea in Great Britain, 1914-1919 (1940), Great Britain in the Twentieth Century (1960) and British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940 (2004). He often considered the volume he edited with Kenneth M. Setton, Great Problems in European Civilization (1961), to be his most influential.

Among the honorary degrees awarded to Winkler are those from Xavier University, Lehigh University, Rutgers University, Hebrew Union College, Northern Kentucky University and the City University of Manila. In addition to a Fulbright appointment at the London School of Economics, he held visiting professorships at Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, and Columbia University. The University of Cincinnati named its Center for the History of the Health Professions in Winkler’s honor.

Winkler has two children, historian Allan Michael, and journalist Karen Jean, from his marriage to the late Clare Sapadin. He married Beatrice Ross in 1973 and has three stepsons, Richard, Robert and Kenneth Ross.