Remembering the Titans: Dr. Burton Karges

Dr. Karges served as the UWO athletics faculty representative for 35 years

Photo courtesy: UWO Archives-- Dr. Burton Karges was inducted
into the UWO Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.

Photo courtesy: UWO Archives– Dr. Burton Karges was inducted into the UWO Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The first UW Oshkosh Athletic Hall of Fame class in 1974 included honorary inductee Dr. Burton Karges, who served as the faculty representative for athletics for 35 years.

“His students of past years are frequently encountered throughout Wisconsin, and they invariably offer a complimentary comment regarding their experience with him,” James McKee, former UWO geology department chairman, said to the Advance-Titan in 1972.

Born in Rhinelander, Karges received a doctorate in geology from UW-Madison in 1934 before joining the faculty at the Oshkosh State Teachers College (now known as UW Oshkosh), teaching geology and chemistry.

Karges, who received full professorship in 1955, served as the chairman of the geology department at UWO until 1970.

“The geology department has benefited immeasurably from Dr. Karges’ influence and from having developed on the foundation provided by years of his competence, professionalism and gentlemanliness,” McKee said in 1972.

During his time at the university, Karges was the Oshkosh athletic faculty representative to the Wisconsin State Universities Conference and served on the UWO intercollegiate athletics committee.

A member of the National Association of Geology Teachers, Karges was selected to the Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Beta Sigma national honorary educational fraternities for his social and educational leadership while at UW Oshkosh.

“UWO graduates who studied under Dr. Karges during his 38 years on the faculty number are in the thousands, and his reputation as a geologist and dedicated teacher is literally worldwide,” McKee said in an interview with the Advance-Titan in 1972.

Karges was always involved with homecoming activities on campus, serving as the head of the parade committee for many years.

Karges felt strongly about student participation in the homecoming parade.“Every sorority and fraternity will be present by at least one float. If they don’t, they’re a punk,” he said to the ADvance-Titan in 1935.

Karges, an avid member of the Wisconsin Education Society and the State Historical Society, died in 1972.

“During the helter-skelter years of explosive university growth and widely held visions of becoming a Ph.D.-granting institution, he never lost sight of the fact that good, solid undergraduate education was the primary mission of this university,” McKee said.