Remembering Dr. Abegg
Having just learned about the recent passing of MARTIN “JERRY” ABEGG ’47 HON ’93, I am saddened even though it has been close to 35 years since I last was in his presence.
As a student from 1971–75, and student body president in 1974–75, I had the great opportunity to get to know Dr. Abegg from a student's perspective. The open-door policy in his office, the friendly smile on campus, and the quiet confidence and steadfast belief that engaging students on a level with himself — although we were clearly not at his level — were the true touches of a mentor, teacher, and leader who made a lifelong impression on me. I have tried to emulate in my adult life the lessons taught by Dr. Abegg.
I remember when deciding if a tuition increase should be set for the 1974–75 school year, Dr. Abegg and the head of finance came to my apartment to discuss the pros and cons and the timing. With a calmness and Everyman way about him, he and JOE MELE, MA ’68 agreed that the following year would be the year for the increase. Now, I am sure that they had already decided that, but he took the time and energy to come to our apartment to make us feel that we mattered enough to have that discussion in our setting.
The steady hand in turbulence is worth everything. Many of today’s loud leaders could take a huge cue from the life and leadership of Jerry Abegg. Thank you for the memories of Bradley University from this alum.
PHIL PRITZKER ’75
During the winter of 1962–63, I was trying to decide which university was right for me. As a high school senior, I had received an invitation to attend a Bradley University “recruiting” function at the Oak Park Arms Hotel. Jerry Abegg, then dean of the College of Engineering, was the principal speaker. Here was a man whom I had never met, but who quickly convinced me that Bradley was right for me.
What Jerry said was very well prepared and delivered, but so were all of the talks at the recruiting functions of the schools I was considering. What was different here, and what made my decision to attend Bradley so easy, was Jerry’s warmth, conviction, and command of the moment. I was not only looking for a good engineering school, but also for a school where I would not be simply a number, where faculty and even the dean of the engineering school would be accessible.
A few years after graduation, I had the opportunity to move my family back to Peoria. I witnessed Dean Abegg become President Abegg, all the while remaining the same warm and accessible guy I first met nearly 50 years ago. I will miss him.
DAVID MUCHOW ’68
My experience at Bradley with Jerry Abegg parallels that of DR. MAX WESSLER ’52, whose comments were in the last issue of Bradley Hilltopics. I, along with Max, was a student in his freshman surveying class. It was a favorite class of mine. Jerry was an ideal type of teacher — very clear and precise in his presentations. It was quite obvious he knew his stuff and also that he knew how to teach others. There is no doubt, as Max said, that Dr. Abegg epitomized the best in the Bradley family.
M.R. BOTTORFF ’52
Thank you for the nice job you did featuring DON CHRISTIAN ’76 and me in “Destined to dive” in the summer issue. My experiences at Bradley and the education I received have shaped my life in many, many ways. It is an honor to be published in Bradley Hilltopics magazine.
PAUL BREZINSKI ’74
You did a very nice job with the “Destined to dive” article. Thanks for helping spread the good word about diving. We are booked on a trip to Little Cayman in October with the Brezinskis.
DON CHRISTIAN ’76
From the editor
Dear Friends of Bradley Hilltopics magazine,
We appreciate the time you set aside to read your Bradley Hilltopics. Our hope is that each issue brings you closer to your alma mater and reminds you of your own Bradley Experience.
This fall, about 1,500 of you will be randomly selected and mailed a 10-minute readership survey. Thank you for giving us your opinion and returning it promptly. We are listening to you in an effort to continually improve Bradley Hilltopics for our more than 60,000 readers. One critical question, for example, concerns whether you would like to continue receiving a printed magazine or would prefer only the electronic edition.
In the meantime, please visit bradley.edu/hilltopics/survey to take our five-minute online readership survey to tell us how we are doing.
Thank you for your loyal support of our University and Bradley Hilltopics.
KAREN CROWLEY METZINGER, MA ’97