UW-Fox Valley Logo

Noted Scholar and Alum Returns as Scholars Series Speaker at UWFox

[This page is preserved for historical and reference purposes only. The information contained on it may no longer be current.]

The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley is hosting one of its most distinguished alumni as a "bonus" Scholars Series speaker on Thursday, May 20, from noon to 1:00 p.m.  Charles F. Merbs, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Anthropology at Arizona State University, is scheduled to present his lecture, "Casimir Pulaski, Polish Hero of the American War for Independence: A Bio-historical Mystery," in Perry Hall. Merbs' presentation is free and open to the public with unreserved seating.

Merbs spent his first year of college, 1954-1955, at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Extension, as UWFox was known at the time. He eventually transferred to UW-Madison, where he earned his B.S. (1961), his M.S. (1963), and his Ph.D. (1969), which focused on anthropology and medical genetics.

While he was an undergraduate student at UW-Madison he worked with one of his professors on the infamous Ed Gein case, which eventually became an influence on two hugely popular movies, "Psycho" and "The Silence of the Lambs.

Merbs went on to teach for 10 years at the University of Chicago before eventually joining the faculty at Arizona State University in 1972 as the chair of its anthropology department. He spent six years as the department chair and remained at A.S.U. as a full professor until he retired in May 2004 

Merbs has been described as, "a genuine crime scene investigator." His areas of professional interest and expertise are osteo-archeology, forensic and dental anthropology, as well as pathology and trauma. His list of professional publications is impressive. He has also been published in TIME magazine, worked with numerous medical examiners throughout the nation, supplied content to The World Book Encyclopedia, and has had portions of his research translated into other languages.

Regarding his research and presentation on General Casimir Pulaski, Merbs said, "What started out as a seemingly simple skeletal identification with a personal touch turned into something fascinating and totally unexpected!" His recent extensive studies of the remains of Pulaski established that the remains found in the Pulaski Monument at Savannah, Georgia are, indeed, those of Gen. Pulaski, despite a lack of DNA evidence. 

In 2008, Merbs has received the "Distinguished Service Award" from the American Council for Polish Culture and the "Pulaski Award" from the National Polish Center. In 1984, he received the A.S.U. College of Liberal Arts' "Dean's Quality Teaching Award" in anthropology.

Merbs will be visiting the UWFox campus to receive the UW-Fox Valley Foundation's "Outstanding Alumni Award" for 2010.  Terry Dawson, director of the Appleton Public Library, will also be recognized with the award during a presentation at the campus' annual commencement ceremony on May 20, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the UWFox Fieldhouse.

For more information about Merbs' presentation at UWFox on May 20 at noon in Perry Hall, contact Dave Hager, director of University Relations, 920-832-2611 or email david.hager@uwc.edu.

Additional Information

Maps & Directions to Campus

Posted 05/13/2010