Charles John Milhauser, 1934-2018

Registrar and Professor of Classics Emeritus Charles John Milhauser died Oct. 6, 2018, at age 83. Milhauser is remembered as an expert on Cornell history and author of the 2003 book “Cornell College: 150 Years from A to Z.”

Charles Milhauser
Charles Milhauser

He was born in New York City, attended Bronx High School of Science, and Hunter College, where he earned a B.A. summa cum laude and was elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa. He did his graduate work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and began his academic career teaching Latin, Ancient Greek, and English at the University of Iowa.

Milhauser came to Cornell College in 1964 as assistant professor of classics. He served as registrar from 1970 until his retirement in 1993, when Cornell conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.

As registrar, he was frequently asked to provide historical information and documentation. In these searches, he often came across facts and anecdotes unrelated to the question at hand. He kept this information on index cards and eventually amassed his own archive of Cornell history. Before his death, he arranged for the Cornell Archives to receive this mini-archive.

In 1980, he started offering historical tours of the campus, and over the years conducted more than 350, often at Homecoming. In 2004 he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition in the Loren Horton Community History Award competition sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa, recognizing the best project that increases awareness and participation in Iowa history on a local level.

Milhauser wrote the popular Cornelliana column for the Cornell Report from 1995 to 2011 and occasionally provided information and articles as recently as the spring 2018 issue.

He was cited by two alumni in President Jonathan Brand’s January 2018 White Paper on the Cornell spirit. Jeff Zupanci ’91 told how Milhauser was responsible for his return to Cornell after dropping out, and Freya Brier ’80 recalled how he found funding for her so that she could stay in school.

Milhauser spent his retirement in Tequesta, Florida, where he volunteered as a docent at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

He did not wish to have a service and will be remembered, along with others, during the Alumni Convocation at Homecoming 2019.