Retirees Association

Tribute to James E. Sayer, Sept. 11, 1946–July 12, 2020, by Mary Kenton

Jim Sayer

Excerpt from The Extension, Fall 2020

It is hard to summarize Jim Sayer’s myriad contributions to Wright State University. He came up through the ranks as a faculty member. He was a popular and effective teacher in both large lectures and small seminars. His scholarly interests were wide ranging, from American history

and politics to more esoteric topics in rhetoric.
He usually found a way to accommodate almost any favor asked of him. If you needed a guest speaker, Jim could always deliver, often on short notice. He was friendly, open, and devoid of snobbishness about rank or position. He was an effective department chair and an innovative and successful dean of the Lake Campus, increasing enrollment from 730 to 1,500 during his tenure.

He served as president of the faculty a record seven times. He liked the nitty gritty of university politics and enjoyed sparing with every president from Kegerreis to Hopkins. One of his proudest accomplishments was persuading President Kegerreis to pickup the STRS pick-up, which effectively gave the faculty a $5,000 raise. He represented the faculty in good times and during retrenchments and unionization. He had been elected to an eighth term but withdrew to become dean. It is clear that the faculty who elected him time and again trusted and valued his leadership.

In retirement, Jim continued to teach an Honors Seminar each fall term and he got involved in the Retirees Association. He served a three-year term as president-elect, president, and past-president. Jim was the most effective president ever in terms of getting through the agenda in an efficient and timely manner. He was also successful in securing a modest but much needed budget enhancement for WSURA. When he and Cathy decided to move to Washington state, we wished them well but were sad to see such valued colleagues and friends leave the area.

Our heartfelt condolences to Cathy and their four children, Bob, Laura, Annie, and Steven.