EWU Mourns the Loss of George Lotzenhiser

January 29, 2019

George William Lotzenhiser, PhD, a long-time Eastern faculty member and administrator who played a key role in the academic restructuring of the institution, passed away Saturday, Jan. 26, in Spokane. He was 95.

Professor Lotzenhiser was an EWU alumnus, a former dean of the university’s Division (College) of Fine Arts, and a veteran of World War II. An accomplished musician and music teacher, he is also credited with composing the words and music for All Hail to Eastern Washington, EWU’s official Alma Mater.

George William Lotzenhiser

The Spokane native was active on campus during his undergraduate years, serving as president of the Associated Students, student director of the marching band, and assistant director of the orchestra. Although Lotzenhiser’s education was interrupted by his wartime service in the U.S. Navy, he graduated in 1947 from EWU, then known as Eastern Washington College of Education, with both a bachelor’s degree in education and a Bachelor of Arts in music. He would go on to earn a master’s degree in music education at the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in education at the University of Oregon.

In 1960, EWU asked Lotzenhiser to return to the Cheney campus to lead the music department and to serve as the first dean of the university’s newly formed School of Fine Arts, a position he held until his retirement in 1983.

During his time on campus, he witnessed the dramatic transformation of the institution to Eastern Washington State College in 1961 and to Eastern Washington University in 1977.

In 1981, Lotzenhiser received the Distinguished Alumni Award. After his retirement he was named Dean of the School of Fine Arts, emeritus, with the official observance of his status being part of the June 1983 commencement.

His wife, B. Kathryn Lotzenhiser, preceded him in death in 2006. She was active in many civic organizations, and was responsible for founding the Women of Achievement Luncheon fundraiser for the Spokane YWCA.

The story behind how Lotzenhiser wrote All Hail to Eastern Washington can be found in Eastern Magazine, which also chronicled his 2016 Honor Flight to be recognized for military service.