Dr. Fred Kisslinger, former professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, has pledged $1 million from his estate to UMR. The gift will help support UMR’s materials science and engineering department and the UMR athletic department.
Kisslinger specialized in teaching courses on the heat treatment of steel. He retired from the university in 1990. Last year, his ongoing generosity was recognized by the dedication of the Fred Kisslinger Metallography Classroom in McNutt Hall.
Childhood polio left Kisslinger with a paralyzed leg, but that didn’t prevent him from leading an active life. “I was swimming at the UMR pool back when it was still in Jackling Gym,” he says. “It was part of my physical therapy. When the multi-purpose building went up, I started swimming there up until a year or two back.”
As it became increasingly difficult for Kisslinger to get from the locker room to the pool, accommodations were made. “They have been very nice to me over at the athletic department,” Kisslinger says. “They let me use the dressing room off of the coaches’ offices. They also got one of these chairs that lift you in and out of the pool. I appreciated that.”
Kisslinger, who now lives at the Rolla Presbyterian Manor, earned a bachelor’s degree at UMR (then the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy) in 1942. He then attended the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a master’s degree in 1945 and a Ph.D. in 1947.
Kisslinger was on the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology from 1947 to 1964. He came back to Rolla in 1964 to join the UMR faculty, and he’s been living in the Ozarks ever since. “For a while, I had a cabin on the Gasconade River,” he says. “We dunked worms, as it were, and caught a lot of pan fish.”
These days, Kisslinger follows UMR basketball and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also keeps track of his investments. His $1 million estate gift to UMR will eventually be added to his existing endowments for metallurgical engineering and athletics. “I felt like my education gave me the ability to be successful,” Kisslinger says. “I wanted to give something back.”