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Influential campus leader Jack Seilheimer dies at 78

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Jack Seilheimer protested on campus with students. He made an effort to build relationships with students during his 49 years as a professor.
Jack Seilheimer protested on campus with students. He made an effort to build campus relationships during his 49 years as a professor.

Former Colorado State University-Pueblo professor Jack Seilheimer died on Oct. 26 at 78. He was heavily involved with CSU-Pueblo’s campus and was regarded by many as an influential leader.

For a man who had nearly every leadership position possible for a professor at CSU-Pueblo, he is remembered for the relationships he built on campus.

“He just really took a lot of students under his wing,” said Tracy Samora, director of Alumni Relations at CSU-Pueblo.

Seilheimer and his wife Donna stayed involved in CSU-Pueblo’s campus throughout his 49-year tenure as a professor, and even after he retired.

He started at CSU-Pueblo in 1963 as a biology professor and assistant football coach. As time went on, he became more involved with university activities and academics. In 1974, he became a full professor and in 1987, he was promoted as the dean of the College of Science and Math. He served in the position until 2000.

In 2012, Seilheimer was inducted into CSU-Pueblo’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He served as an assistant football coach for several years until he gave it up to focus on academics. Even after he quit the position, however, he remained involved with the program.

When the football program was reintroduced to CSU-Pueblo after it disbanded for several years, Seilheimer was one of the program’s biggest supporters, Samora said.

In 2013, he added the President’s Medallion to his vast collection of university awards. In an interview with the Colorado State University-Pueblo Magazine, a publication released by the alumni office, Seilheimer expressed the importance of building relationships on campus.

“So many people have come into our lives, and our CSU-Pueblo family has played a central role in building that family. For that, I am grateful,” he told the magazine.

In 2006, Seilheimer became the only man in CSU-Pueblo history to receive the Honorary Alumni Award. He also received awards such as Educator of the Year and Faculty Member of the Year during his time at the university.

Seilheimer was also influential in the larger Pueblo community. As a biologist, he found ways to study and share his knowledge of the Pueblo environment with the community. For example, he served as the executive director of the nature center in Pueblo.

“I wonder how he did all of that,” Samora said.

A memorial service was held in the Occhiato University Center on Nov. 16 in order for the community to remember Seilheimer’s legacy at CSU-Pueblo.

“You could not meet a sweeter man who loved this institution,” Samora said.