Jamrich left a lasting legacy for important work at NMU | News, Sports, Jobs
Northern Michigan University and the region as a whole recently lost a figure who played a major role in changing the university’s trajectory and physical presence at Marquette: former NMU President John X Jamrich.
Jamrich died Sunday in Savannah, Georgia, at the age of 101. He served as NMU’s eighth president from 1968 until his retirement in 1983. His 15-year term – the third longest of any Northern president – was marked by phenomenal growth in enrollment, programs academics and community outreach, the NMU said in a press release.
“Dr. Jamrich was the president who gave me my degree in the beginning when I was graduating from the North”, said NMU Acting President Kerri Schuiling, a 1973 graduate. “In his 101 years he has exemplified what it means to be a lifelong learner. He was a dedicated Wildcat throughout his tenure as President and thereafter.
“Under his leadership, Northern has had many remarkable achievements. We owe him deep gratitude for the foundations on which the university continues to stand today.
According to “John X. Jamrich: The Man and the University,” Northern’s physical campus grew significantly under his leadership, with the construction of the Learning Resources Center, Jacobetti Skills Center, Physical Educational Instructional Facility, and Cohodas Hall. It was also a time of new university-corporate partnerships, the beginning of women’s athletics, student protests, labor organizing, and—toward the end of her term—financial difficulties due to state budget cuts.
“John was personally above it all during his presidency,” said professor of history emeritus Russell Magnaghi, the book’s author, in a Northern Magazine article on Jamrich’s 100th birthday. “In fact, it’s hard to find things that were happening on campus during his administration that he wasn’t involved with. He was not preoccupied with finding another job and was completely devoted to the NMU. He realized Edgar Harden’s philosophy of transforming Northern into a quality undergraduate/graduate institution.
Northern remained an integral part of Jamrich’s life after his retirement.
Jamrich and his wife, June, who died in April 2020, were longtime philanthropic supporters of NMU. They established the John X. and June A. Jamrich Endowed Music Scholarship, which the family asked those wishing to express sympathy for John’s death, to consider supporting, and the family’s art endowment John X. and June A. Jamrich.
Additionally, they have helped maintain a variety of scholarships and funds over the years and have given to the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, the DeVos Art Museum, NMU athletics, and many other programs and initiatives.
In 2014, Jamrich was honored with the appointment of a new teaching center on the NMU campus, John X. Jamrich Hall, to serve as a keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies.
Jamrich’s accomplishments in life have been many and are impossible to adequately summarize in this small space – or even a much larger space – but his leadership, forward-thinking, generosity and concern for others will never be. forgotten.
A brief walk or drive through the Marquette area makes it clear that Jamrich has left a lasting legacy on campus and throughout the community. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Marquette resident who hasn’t entered — or at least seen — a college building named after Jamrich, or that he was involved in the development. His leadership has enabled the university and its students to learn new things, set new goals and think big.
Schuiling summed it up perfectly – we owe him a debt of gratitude for where we are today.
Jamrich and his late wife, June, touched many lives in the NMU community and beyond. He will never be forgotten.