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Robert L. Ketter papers and memorabilia

 Record Group — Box: 1-22, 23+-25+, 26
Identifier: 4-11-797

Scope and Contents

Collection contains but is not limited to memos, correspondence, reprints, research notes, course materials, diagrams, photos, clippings and objects related to Ketter's career especially at UB, beginning in 1958 with notes on teaching civil engineering. Every major stage of his career is represented, including Deanship of the Graduate School, Vice Presidency of Facilities Planning, and department chair; also highlighted are his activities in the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Western New York Council on Health Care Planning, and Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. A single box contains the records of Lorelei Z. Ketter acting in the capacity of personal secretary to Ketter, and includes her notes on University events, records of her participation in the preservation of the Darwin D. Martin House, and her own compilation of records on the University's art and antiques collections. Copies of publications significant in Ketter's career are also collected, including performance evaluations of Ketter's presidency.

Professional Papers -- papers, reports, memos and correspondence related to Ketter's work as a faculty member at UB, facilities planning VP, civil engineering consultant, BECHS board of trustees president, etc. in pre- and post-presidential times -- includes 3 cartons of papers related to Ketter's participation (1967-72) in the Western New York Health Care Council.

Presidential Papers -- Ketter's personal copies of memos, correspondence and miscellaneous reports pertaining to his duties as President of UB -- personal, faculty management, campus and facility development, also memorabilia and papers relating to sister university relationship with Kyoungpook University, S. Korea.

Papers of Mrs. Ketter -- correspondence and notes regarding Presidential and personal travel, social arrangements, and University-owned art and antiques from Mrs. Ketter's duties as personal assistant to President Ketter and as member of the Darwin Martin house preservation board. Includes background information on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Martin house collected by Mrs. Ketter.

Photos -- personal and family snapshots, Information Services photos and photos from other sources of Ketter with family and colleagues. Includes photos of formal and informal University functions such as visits from Korean higher education dignitaries and Ketter's visits to other countries while President. Also included are some of the functions for which Mrs. Ketter acted as planner showing table settings and arrangements.


  • 1954-1989


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Robert L. Ketter papers and memorabilia, circa 1954-1989, are open for research.

This collection has been minimally processed. Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Robert Lewis Ketter was born in 1929 in Welch, West Virginia; earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Missouri, Columbia in 1950; earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 1952 and a Ph.D., also in civil engineering, at Lehigh in 1956, where he taught as associate professor. In 1958 he came to the University of Buffalo to act as chair of the Civil Engineering Department, and in 1965 was named Dean of the graduate School. In 1967 Ketter became Vice President of Facilities Planning, where he would be responsible for much of the planning, design and construction of UB's new Amherst Campus. In 1971 Ketter was made President of the University, a post he held until 1982 in addition to teaching civil engineering. In 1985 he was named Director of UB's Earthquake Engineering and Systems Dynamics Laboratories, and in 1986 Ketter was instrumental in obtaining a grant from the National Science Foundation to found the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, of which he was also Director. In 1986 the University named a building after Ketter. He was recipient of several honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Engineering form Lehigh University, 1986, and a Doctor of Science from Kyoungpook University, S. Korea, 1973. Ketter died in 1989.


32.5 Linear Feet (21 cartons, 2 manuscript boxes, 3 flat boxes)


Papers include memos, correspondence, reprints, research notes, course materials, diagrams, photos, clippings and objects related to Robert L. Ketter's career especially at the State University of New York at Buffalo.


This collection is arranged in original order.

Acquisition Information

Collection received in multiple accessions (1982-1989) from the University President's office, Ketter's offices as professor of Civil Engineering and director of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, and his personal home office.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

4/11/65, Clippings File
4/11/324, Records Related to the Evaluation of President Robert L. Ketter, 1973
4/11/581, Presidential Speeches
4/11/657, Inauguration Scrapbook
4/11/672, Inauguration Files
4/11/675, Appointment Books

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.


Finding Aid for the Robert L. Ketter papers and memorabilia
Finding aid prepared by Archives staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)