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Messner Honors Father with Major Gift for Scholarships

Posted: December 6, 2013

Charles A. Messner Jr. has fond memories of growing up on the Buffalo State campus. As a child, he attended the School of Practice in the building now known as Ketchum Hall. And he often tagged along with his father, the late Dr. Charles A. Messner Sr. (pictured), as he went about his work as founding chair of the Foreign Languages Department.

Recently, Messner and his wife, Lois, contributed $500,000 to the Transforming Lives campaign to establish the Dr. Charles A. Messner Scholarship Fund. The fund will transform many lives well into the future by providing annual $5,000 need-based scholarships for students studying in humanities-related programs beginning in fall 2014.

“My father was very influential to me and to generations of students,” said Messner, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a professor of French at Carleton College in Minnesota. “This gift honors his legacy.”

The elder Messner, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 103, joined the faculty at Buffalo State in 1926 after serving in World War I as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery. He completed his Ph.D. in comparative literature at Harvard University in 1928. At Buffalo State, the revered professor taught courses in Latin, German, French, world literature, and linguistics.

After initially retiring in 1963, the elder Messner returned to the college as a lecturer in Latin from 1968 to 1971. A philanthropic man, he donated his entire salary during those final four years of his teaching career to the college for cash scholarships for deserving students; that scholarship fund exists to this day.

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