Charles Bicknell Creager joined the Emporia State University faculty in the fall of 1971 as the chair of the Division of Physical Sciences and served until his retirement in 1984. The seventies were productive years for the physical sciences under his leadership. He continued the tradition established by S. Winston Cram of emphasizing teacher education while promoting strong liberal arts majors in the physical science disciplines. He oversaw the national accreditation of the chemistry degree, the evolution of the earth science program from a service function into a full major with both an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree option, and the creation of pre-engineering within physics. He introduced day-long workshops for high school students which exposed participants to both laboratory experiments and some of the social issues related to the sciences. He developed the agreements that led to the involvement of ESU in the education of senior nuclear reactor operators at Wolf Creek. He taught courses ranging from photography to musical acoustics to advanced mechanics and nuclear physics.
He was always proud of the support and leadership given to the development of Science and Mathematics Education Center, the Geology Museum, and the outdoor rock garden that bears his name.
Active in professional organizations such as the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), he was president of both the Kansas Academy of Science and the regional section of AAPT.
Charles Creager was born October 5, 1924, in Bicknell, Indiana, a town named after his great grandfather. In 1942 he left high school to work at Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio. In 1943 he joined the Navy; he was discharged in 1946 shortly after completing flight training.
Immediately after the war, he entered Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio as an architecture major. After being named "the most promising architect of the year" in his sophomore year, he switched to physics and subsequently received a B.S. degree in 1951. He stayed on to earn the M.S. in physics in 1953. He entered the Ph.D. program in nuclear physics at Indiana University in 1956, and received the degree in 1959.
After his graduation from Case Western Reserve, he joined the faculty of Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas as a physics instructor and, after completing his doctorate, returned as chair of the science department, a position he held until coming to Emporia State.
Charles Creager had a lifelong interest in the arts and the cultural life of his community. While at ESU he enjoyed avocations as a pianist and a painter and even did some acting. A leader in his church, president of the Emporia Arts Council and the Breakfast Lions Club, and a member of both the National Historic Preservation Society and the Kansas Historical Society, he was also a long-standing advocate of equality and civil rights, a member of Common Cause, the ACLU, and the advisory board of the first Kansas Civil Rights Commission.
His fairness, friendliness, and sense of humor were cherished by those who knew him. Membership in his "Good Egg Society," which recognized a few people who have gone beyond the call of duty, was a highly coveted honor. Charles B. Creager is acknowledged as the best "Good Egg" of all. He resided in Emporia until his passing on August 1, 2004.
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Page contents excerpted from the Dedication of the Creager Rock Garden program, April 24, 1993.
Page posted 8/6/04 by Jim Johnson