UW-Green Bay mourns the loss of Prof. William ‘Bill” Laatsch
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay staff, faculty and students alike, mourn the passing of Prof. William Laatsch, who spent 43 years at UW-Green Bay as the Professor of Geography and department chair, and Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Please take a moment to read his full obituary here; his life and legacy will be remembered and celebrated by many.
In the nomination for emeritus status, colleagues noted “Dr. Laatsch has excelled in the classroom, field trips, and other educational activities. His dedication to teaching is evidenced by his total identification with students and their learning process which is unparalleled. His effective teaching style and communication skills made him highly popular within the classroom and outside. His field trips are legendary for their scope, substantive contents, and first-hand experience gained by the students involved.”
One of the memorable contributions of Laatsch came in the form of a six foot mouse. “Professor Laatsch’s annual Cheese Classic is legendary for its mirth and conviviality. The event became a campus-wide magnet. Its ability to bring the entire campus community together has been the notable hallmark.”
In addressing students at the May 2005 commencement, Bill Laatsch summed up his teaching philosophy and advice, “ …the educational experience is a process, a journey, not a prescribed four or five year encounter–Learning is a lifelong enterprise…..Be passionate about all that you do. Embrace life with enthusiasm, have intense and positive feelings for your family, job, volunteer activities and recreation…..Find a career about which you can have a passion…Follow your bliss… Deal effectively with change. Understand change and be part of positive change. You have the tools.” He closed his remarks by “acknowledging a debt of gratitude to the graduates….We work to teach better, seek answers through research, and test our theories and content in service to our community. So to you I say, thank you.”
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. The family will greet friends at 2 p.m. at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1100 N. Astor Street, in Milwaukee. Service at 3 p.m. with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Bill may make donations to the Laatsch Family Endowed Phuture Phoenix Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.