Robert Pantzer, who led UM at difficult time, dies
MISSOULA – Robert T. Pantzer, the University of Montana’s 12th president, is dead of pneumonia at the age of 90.
Pantzer died in Spokane Thursday.
As UM president from 1966 to 1974, Pantzer was faced with student riots in the wake of Kent State, racial issues, classroom censorship and a work-study scandal that rocked the athletic department.
“It was a very, very difficult period which he handled very well,” said current UM President George Dennison.
Pantzer was appointed in 1966 after serving four months as acting president. He was a graduate of UM’s school of business administration and its law school.
Pantzer’s law career included stints as county attorney of Liberty County in Chester until 1950, Park County attorney from 1951 to 1955 and city attorney in Livingston until 1957, when he accepted a teaching post at UM.
Before his presidency, he served as a professor of business administration and financial vice president.
To honor him, the Robert T. Pantzer Award was established in 1974 and is presented to a person who has made a substantial contribution toward making UM a humane and free environment for inquiry and learning. A new dormitory, Pantzer Hall, also honors the former president.
After retiring from UM, Pantzer became an administrator for the law firm of Rutan and Tucker in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1975. Several years later, Pantzer and his wife, Ann, moved to a retirement community in Santa Rosa on the edge of a golf course.
They returned to Missoula in the late 1980s.
No public memorial ceremony is planned, said son David. Cremation has taken place.
“My mom’s desire and my brother’s and sister’s is to have a small family memorial for him,” he said.
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