For The Tribune-Democrat
Jack E. Freeman, who served as Pitt-Johnstown’s president from 1971 to 1974, has died at the age of 80, the university said.
Freeman died from a brief, unexpected illness on Jan. 24 in Virginia.
Under Freeman's administration, UPJ established five academic divisions – education, engineering technology, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences – and began offering its first four-year degrees. His tenure at UPJ also saw the formation of the faculty senate, the first academic convocation, and groundbreaking for the Engineering and Science Building. Additionally, UPJ held its first homecoming celebration, introduced the Mountain Cat as the official school mascot, and added wrestling as a third intercollegiate sport.
Freeman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Baylor University prior to joining the Air Force in 1954. He was appointed as an assistant professor of political science at the Air Force Academy in 1959. From 1964 to 1967, Captain Freeman worked at the Pentagon for United States Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis Lemay and later for the Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary USAF for International Affairs.
In 1967, he resigned his commission to join his former Air Force Academy mentor Wesley Posvar, Pitt’s chancellor, as executive assistant to the chancellor and secretary to the board of trustees. He was named UPJ’s second president in 1971.
In 1974, he returned to the Oakland campus as vice chancellor for planning and budget. In 1977, he earned his doctorate in higher education administration and was later named senior vice chancellor for administration in 1979. He became executive vice president for the university in 1986. He resigned in 1990 after Posvar announced his plans to retire. After leaving Pitt, Freeman held administrative positions at Penn and Cornell, and worked as a higher education management consultant until his retirement in 2006.
Freeman is survived by his wife of 60 years, Betty Hawling Freeman; sons Jack R. Freeman, David M. Freeman, Mark R. Freeman; daughter Melissa Emanuele; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his elder brother, Bob Freeman. The family is being served by the Hall Funeral Home, Purcellville, Va.
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