SOMERS — Former University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor John P. “Jack” Keating has died.
Keating was chancellor from 1998-2008. He died May 10 in Palm Springs, Calif., from complications of a rare leukemia, the university announced Thursday — an announcement that was delayed at the request of family.
“When I joined the university, the consistent message I heard as I met friends and advocates of UW-Parkside was the value of Chancellor Keating’s encouragement and support for strong connections with businesses and organizations throughout southeastern Wisconsin,” current Chancellor Debbie Ford said in a statement. “Jack Keating built a new level of student success, student opportunity, and community engagement at UW-Parkside.
“Jack was proud to be a Ranger and a proud fan of Ranger athletics. I am told he especially enjoyed watching Ranger baseball games.
“The UW-Parkside learning community is saddened by his passing and we extend our deepest sympathy to Jack’s wife, Pam Keating, and his entire family,” Ford said.
Keating’s age at the time of his death was not provided, but he was believed to be in his late 70s.
During Keating’s Parkside tenure, he brought to campus several new academic programs, including criminal justice and digital arts. He also played a key role in the construction of a new residence hall and expanded communications and arts building by securing $4.5 million in private donations.
Becoming more integrated with the community was one of his primary goals, he told The Journal Times in 2008. His most gratifying experiences were seeing timid freshmen develop into confident, mature seniors, he said.
“The growth they have in four years is almost startling,” Keating told the newspaper after he announced his retirement.
Keating was recruited by the Cincinnati Reds organization, but instead entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1955 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1967, according to his obituary. But he subsequently left the society to marry his wife, Pam, in 1969.
Keating had a varied academic career before coming to Parkside, teaching psychology courses, serving on the University of Washington’s Indian Studies Committee and moving into administrative roles at Washington and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
He was recruited to lead several universities, but chose Parkside because of the university’s “foundation commitment to research, with concomitant excellent in faculty preparation,” according to the obituary.
A rosary and wake for Keating was held May 12. A funeral mass will be celebrated by Jesuit classmates and friends on June 25 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Keating’s hometown of San Francisco.
Another Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Seattle, where the family lived for more than 20 years, and where the couple’s son, Jake, and his wife, Wendy reside.