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In This Issue

       

Charles Oswald kept tabs on the events in his home state

Photo of Charles Oswald
Charles Oswald

In both his professional and philanthropic lives, Charles Oswald was a dedicated believer in supporting education and entrepreneurship in Kansas and beyond. With a life-long legacy of improving his communities, Mr. Oswald died Dec. 30, 2014, in San Diego, Calif., at the age of 86.

He grew up on the Rotherwood dairy farm outside Hutchinson, Kan. After high school, Mr. Oswald was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps from 1946-1948. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in 1951 and his master’s degree from Harvard Business School in 1953. Mr. Oswald rose through the ranks of the Jostens Corporation, based in Owatonna, Minn., ultimately serving as president until 1970. He then helped found Minneapolis-based National Computer Systems, serving as chairman and CEO until his retirement in 1994. Along the way he helped create and nurture the development of several small companies, investing financially in them but also providing business advice and encouragement. His personal holding company, Rotherwood Investments LLC, continues to oversee his legacy business interests.

The Oswald Family Foundation was started in 1986 by Mr. Oswald and his wife, Sally, generously supporting Hutchinson High School, the University of Kansas, Harvard University and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. His contribution to the Mayo Clinic resulted in the development of an at-home colon cancer test.

At Wichita State, he was the steward of the Oswald Leadership Fund, which was created to assist in retaining and recruiting quality presidential leadership, recognizing the president’s role as the academic leader of the university. The fund has annually supplemented the salary of WSU presidents for more than 10 years. For this gift, he was inducted as a Fairmount Society Lifetime Achievement Member in 2004. Mr. Oswald created similar funds at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.