Kenneth Toepfer ’51

Kenneth Toepfer '51
Kenneth Toepfer ’51

Educator Kenneth Toepfer ’51 died March 19 in State College, Pennsylvania, at age 88. He was provost emeritus of Teacher’s College at Columbia University in New York City.

A native of Charles City, Iowa, and the first in his family to attend college, he was Phi Beta Kappa at Cornell. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Cornell College, he received a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of International Affairs, and a doctorate in higher education from the Columbia University Teacher’s College. Toepfer served in the U.S. Army from 1953-58, working as a professor for the Armed Forces Information School.

He began his career at Columbia as coordinator of the Teachers for East Africa in 1961, one of the first international programs launched by the Kennedy administration. After three years on the faculty of the State University of New York Buffalo, he returned to Columbia where he was a teacher, researcher, and administrator. He was the provost of the Teacher’s College when he retired in 1986. The next year he was named executive vice president of the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He served American University in Egypt and the U.S. until his final retirement in 1996.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy, three daughters, and three grandchildren.