Kermit A. Seefeld
Department of Education
The UCSB educational community lost a founding faculty member and friend with the passing of Professor Emeritus Dr. Kermit Albert Seefeld on April 11, 2002. Born August 25, 1910, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Professor Seefeld embarked early on a professional career dedicated to teaching and teacher education. He earned his B.Ed. degree from Oshkosh State Teachers College in 1932, an M.Ed. degree from Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College at Boulder in 1946, and an Ed.D. from Stanford University in 1949. Then, while studying for his doctorate and teaching in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he accepted a job offer at Santa Barbara College, where he rose to the rank of chair of the Department of Industrial Arts and president of the American Industrial Arts Association and the American Association of Industrial Teacher Educators.
As Santa Barbara College morphed into UCSB in the late 1950s, Professor Seefeld became a founding faculty member of the Department of Education within the new Graduate School of Education (GSE). In his new department, Kermit taught about junior colleges and helped hire and mentor the many new faculty members who would fill the GSE’s ranks over the next 15 years. He was generous in introducing prospective and new colleagues to Santa Barbara through his memberships at La Cumbre Country Club and the Coral Casino and his connections as a member and president of the Downtown Kiwanis Club. He was generous with GSE students, too, through his establishment of the Seefeld Scholarship in Teacher Education.
Professor Seefeld also became an early friend to the nascent Isla Vista and Santa Barbara educational communities. As a consultant for the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, Mali, and the Philippines in the 1960s, Kermit had learned well the educational importance of quality and affordable student housing. So, he helped develop and manage some of Isla Vista’s earliest student housing. He also established the Kermit and Vivian Seefeld Scholarship Fund within the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara where he had been an early Board of Directors’ member.
In 1972, after years of distinguished service to the campus and the community, Professor Seefeld earned the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award. Then in 1976, after 29 years of service, he retired to family life with his beloved wife, Vivian, herself a noted local educator and former principal of Peabody Elementary School, and his daughters Patricia and Joanne, his son Kip, and his seven grandchildren. Industrious until the end, he continued to expend his entrepreneurial talents in the service of his family and the UCSB educational community. These talents will be sorely missed.