Dr. William G. Laatsch '60

2002 P.E. MacAllister Distinguished Alumnus Award for Service to Carroll

William G. Laatsch '60 graduated from Carroll in 1960 majoring in geography. Bill comes from a family whose roots run deep on the Carroll campus.  He is the grandson of former Carroll College President William Arthur Ganfield (1921 – 1939), is the son of two Carroll graduates, Wayland '28 and Elizabeth (Ganfield) '27 Laatsch; with his wife Fran Hunter, is the proud parent of two Carroll alumni, Ann '88 and David '95; and is the son-in-law of Carroll alumni Richard '30 and Elizabeth Hartopp Hunter '30.  

Dr. Laatsch is a scholar who served the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for 43 years as a Professor of Geography and Department Chair and postponed retirement to fill the position of Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He also served as a consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Development. He has served in many non-profit and community organizations.  

He was member of the Editorial Board, “Voyager” Historical Review, Brown County and Northeast Wisconsin, Human Habitat, Inc., former chairman of Wisconsin Preservation Review Board, Chairman of the Midwest division of the Association of American Geographers and Fellow of the American Geographical Society. He is a former President of the Heritage Hill Corporation, which is a non-profit corporation that operates the Heritage Hill State Historical Park for the Department of Natural Resources.

Bill also remains active in the UW-Green Bay community, but his true passion is with Carroll.  
His longtime allegiance with Carroll is evident by his service. Dr. Laatsch served on the Carroll University Board of Trustees for 19 years (1991-2010) chairing the Academic Committee, Honorary Degree Committee, Presidential Search Committee and Executive Committee; and during the last five years of his tenure, compassionately led the board and the Carroll community through revitalization, demonstrating that he was the ideal Chairman of the Board for the time.

Laatsch has been recognized for his achievements for both his professional and service achievements.  He was selected by the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley Campus for outstanding teacher in 1968; UW-Green Bay dedicated the William G. Laatsch Geography Room for his service to the institution; a 600 acre ecological reserve in the Yukon Territory of Canada is named after Dr. Laatsch for his work in the Faro area; and he received the local History Award from the Brown County Historical Society for his work on the board of Heritage Hill State Park.

Bill continues to be an active alumnus. Together with his wife Fran, they have hosted alumni events at their home. They have also been generous supporters of Carroll’s scholarship program through the Richard and Elizabeth Hunter International Study Award and the Dr. William G. Laatsch Leadership Fund, providing critical scholarship support to students actively engaged in campus programming in leadership positions.


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