Charles Kiesler, 68; as Chancellor, He Helped Missouri Enrollment
Charles Kiesler, 68, former chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia who increased minority and overall enrollment but tangled with university curators, died Friday in San Diego of unstated causes. He had recently served as director of the Fund for the Advancement of Psychological Sciences for the American Psychological Society, which he helped to found.
Kiesler became chancellor of the University of Missouri’s main campus in 1992 after seven years as provost of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. At that time, the Columbia campus had only 97 black freshmen and so few students that two residence halls had been closed. Over the next four years, Kiesler created scholarships and financial awards to attract minorities and recruited minority students from nearby Kansas City and St. Louis. Enrollment of black students increased 57% during his tenure, and overall enrollment reached its highest total in five years.
But in July 1996, the Board of Curators voted 5-4 to fire Kiesler, accusing him of an abrasive personal style, refusal to recommend program cuts and overspending on salaries. Kiesler said at his ouster, “I’ll admit to being gruff, [but] I’ve always been known as a superb budget person.”
Born in St. Louis, Kiesler earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Michigan State University and his doctorate at Stanford University. He held positions as executive officer of the American Psychological Assn. form 1975 to 1979 and as dean of the Carnegie-Mellon University College of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1983 to 1985.