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Graduate School’s Knickmeyer dies unexpectedly

August 28, 2012 By Terry Devitt

James F. Knickmeyer, the UW–Madison Graduate School associate dean for administration, died unexpectedly early Monday, Aug. 27 at his Madison home. He was 61.

Photo: James Knickmeyer


A native of Oregon, Wis., and a graduate of UW-Whitewater and UW–Madison with degrees in accounting, Knickmeyer joined the UW–Madison staff as an accountant in 1980.

He first worked in Business Services, now Research and Sponsored Programs, in the UW–Madison Office of Research Administration, which at that time was not yet part of the Graduate School. In 1984, he was promoted to Graduate School assistant dean and accounting program coordinator, and in 2002 he was named associate dean for administration in the Graduate School, succeeding Mareda Weiss. In that role, he oversaw accounting, human resources, research services and information technology

“We are all profoundly saddened by Jim’s sudden passing,” says Graduate School Dean Martin Cadwallader.  “We have lost a wonderful friend and colleague. Jim was a pivotal member of our leadership team and his loss will be keenly felt by so many on campus who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.”

Before coming to UW–Madison, Knickmeyer was employed by UW System Administration where he specialized in the area of indirect costs. Prior to his work in higher education, Knickmeyer worked for two years for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

According to Cadwallader, Knickmeyer had an exhaustive knowledge of the financial workings of the Graduate School and the university. His responsibilities extended to the details of the annual WARF gift and its disbursement, and to the administrative functions of the 17 Graduate School centers and institutes.

Survivors include his wife, Mary, two children, Adam and Jamie, and three grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Gunderson East Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Drive. A visitation will be held at the funeral home from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, and from 10-11 a.m. on Thursday.