UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Richard DeloritRichard J. Delorit
President (Interim)
1967-1968

Advancing leadership

Richard J. Delorit, a 1942 graduate of the River Falls State Teachers College, epitomized the dedication President Kleinpell believed was needed in the transition from state college to state university. Delorit had returned to River Falls in 1953 as an instructor, and after promotion to assistant professor in 1956, he became the Dean of the College of Agriculture in 1957. By 1959 he had added an eight-week summer institute for high school teachers of vocational agriculture and science. The dedication of a new lab farm came in 1960.

His advancement within the university continued when he became Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1964. In this position, he came to know students in all aspects of their educational career, an opportunity he enjoyed. His contributions as vice president included the development of a committee to study the strict general education requirements at the school. Students and staff alike desired change, and Delorit delivered. As chair of the committee, he set the precedent for an “experimental school” with more flexibility in general education—more electives to choose from and more depth of departments for non-majors. This model continues to form the basis of the general education program today.

Delorit Era RodeoDedication to his field

When Kleinpell resigned in 1967, Delorit was appointed interim president with the expectation that he would assume the job on a permanent basis. But Delorit made it known that he was not a candidate for the presidency, opting instead to return to his previous post and the freedom it afforded him to research and write in his chosen profession of agronomy. He made impressive strides in the field of plant identification, writing a celebrated high school textbook.

UW-River Falls

410 S. 3rd Street
River Falls, WI 54022
715-425-3911