Former Associate Dean Ted Kiffer dies at age 88

Theodore E. Kiffer, former Associate Dean for the Commonwealth Educational System in the College of the Liberal Arts, has died on May 30, 2014 at age of 88.

He joined the University faculty in 1968 as assistant director of resident instruction and associate professor of English linguistics at Penn State Berks. Between 1968 and 1971, Kiffer also had been chief academic officer at the Berks campus. In 1971, he became director of general education in the College of the Liberal Arts at University Park and served as associate professor of English linguistics and associate head of the Department of English. He taught courses in linguistics, English grammar, and the history of the English language.

In 1983, Kiffer was named associate dean for the Commonwealth Educational System; in 1990, he served as interim dean of the College of the Liberal Arts before his retirement in 1991. In 1994, Penn State appointed Kiffer interim provost and dean of Penn State Harrisburg. In addition, he was author of two books: "Human Services Occupation in the Two-Year College: A Handbook" and "A Social Science Perspective: The Urbanization of Man."

“Ted was a good and kind person who loved Penn State,” said Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “He did so much for the college and the University.  I certainly enjoyed knowing him and learning from him. Even after he retired, he was a wonderful ombudsman, combining his basic kindness with commonsense. Ted also endowed the Kiffer fund to provide support for humanities faculty in the college.”

Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses, said, "Ted’s dedication to Penn State was exemplary. He represented the College of the Liberal Arts well and cared deeply about the faculty and students at the campuses. He was a skillful mentor to our faculty and adviser to our students who were pursuing study in the disciplines of the College. His willingness to serve as the  interim provost and dean of Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College, was a notable example of his professionalism and commitment to the University. Ted Kiffer was an excellent colleague in every sense of the word.”

A graduate of Robert Wesleyan College, Kiffer earned an masters of arts in English and doctorate in linguistics from Penn State. Prior to coming to Penn State, Kiffer was associate professor of linguistics at Kutztown State College and senior Fulbright lecturer and associate professor of English linguistics at the University of Liberia, Africa.

A celebration of life will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Hunsicker's Grove, 9350 Longswamp Road, Mertztown, Pennsylvania. Click here for the full obituary.

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Last Updated June 10, 2014