Oct. 7, 1932 – June 2, 2014
William H. Baumer, Ph.D., of Clarence, a longtime philosophy professor at the University at Buffalo, died June 2 in Erie County Medical Center after a short illness. He was 81.
Born in Louisville, Ky., he was raised in Cleveland and served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1953 to 1956.
After his military service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis., and a master’s and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dr. Baumer joined the UB philosophy faculty in 1962 after brief teaching positions at the University of Nevada and the University of North Dakota. He served the department as director of both graduate and undergraduate studies, and taught world civilization, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, business ethics, professional ethics and philosophy of religion.
Dr. Baumer held numerous roles during his 52-year career at UB, serving as assistant vice president for academic affairs from 1973 to 1975 and then as controller of the university from 1967 to 1986.
In the 1980s, he was a member of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Scientific Computing Technical Review Group and was chairman of the advisory panel of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Scientific Computing Division.
He was program consultant and program officer for the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research from 1986 to 1992.
An advocate for UB’s supercomputing growth, he was involved in the development of the New York State Education and Research Network, later PSINet, a publicly traded Internet company of the late 1990s.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Baumer served as a member of the SUNY Faculty Senate, representing UB, and the UB Faculty Senate and its executive committee, representing the College of Arts and Sciences.
He was chairman of the UB Faculty Senate from 1970 to 1972, chairman of its grading committee and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Policy Committee, serving as chairman at the time of his death.
He was a member of the Lutheran Church and was involved in the creation of UB’s religious studies program.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Judith Plautz; two daughters, Ann Schulte and Gail; a brother, Paul; a sister, Martha Ann; and four grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be at 1 p.m. Sunday in St. John Lutheran Church of Amherst, 6540 Main St.