Memorial Service for former USM Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg to be held 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2

Baltimore, Md. (Feb. 26, 2019) – The life and vast contributions of former University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2. The remembrance ceremony will take place at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Leadership Hall at 655 W. Baltimore St. in Baltimore.

Dr. Langenberg was appointed USM chancellor in May 1990 and served through April 2002. He is the inspiration for the USM’s regular Langenberg Lecture Series. The Langenberg Lecture is designed to to inspire its audience with a new vision for education in this country. More importantly, the Langenberg Lecture is a call to action, giving motivation and information to those most able to change the way we teach and learn.

Invited speakers include nationally recognized education leaders who may speak on a broad range of issues within the field of education, but they all share in Dr. Langenberg's vision of education as a life-long journey of the human mind. Moreover, they share Dr. Langenberg's perspective that calls upon higher education to see itself as part of a larger, integrated whole.

A resident of Dickeyville, Md., Dr. Langenberg, 86, died at his home on January 25.

Born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, Dr. Langenberg was raised by his deaf parents, Fern and Ernest Langenberg, graduates of Gallaudet University; his beloved aunt, Beulah Newton; and his Iowa farmer grandparents, Lewis and Bessie Newton.  As noted in a retrospective from the Candle Light Funeral home of Catonsville, Md., he was sent to his Iowa grandparents at the age of three to learn appropriate English.

Dr. Langenberg earned his physics degrees from Iowa State University (B.S.),  University of California, Los Angeles (M.S.) and University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), and was an expert in the areas of superconductivity, condensed matter, and low temperature physics.  He began his teaching and research career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as the director of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research. He also taught and collaborated at the University of Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure, the California Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität München.  

In 1980 he was named Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation by Jimmy Carter. His career in science and university administration continued in 1983 as Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Chicago, before he became USM chancellor.

In memory of Dr. Langenberg, current USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret said:

"As many of you know, Don began his career as an educator and ground-breaking physicist, specializing in experimental condensed matter physics, materials science, and superconductivity. He then transitioned into higher education leadership, serving as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the USM. As USM Chancellor, Don instilled an ethos that featured authority delegated to the individual campuses, a high degree of accountability, and a commitment to the best principles of shared governance, which today stands as the very foundation of USM’s success. His leadership was impactful and he will be missed.
"It is also gratifying to know that Don’s legacy will continue through the Langenberg Lecture and Award, which has become an annual ‘call to action’ from a nationally renowned educational leader to inspire and motivate those of us who value teaching. I know I speak for us all when I say our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Don’s wife, Pat, Professor Emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and their family and friends.”

A recent Baltimore Sun obituary included profound tributes to Dr. Langenberg, including one from USM Chancellor Emeritus William “Brit” Kirwan.

“He served the system very well and he was highly regarded by the presidents for his intellect and his commitment to higher education, which was one of his major interests. Don was an iconoclast who grew up in a traditional educational environment. That was his background.

“He was always was always trying to do innovative things in education, and was an early advocate of online education and technology in the classroom.”

The full Baltimore Sun remembrance is accessible here.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the UMBF (University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation) in support of the University of Maryland Heart & Vascular Center.  Please make checks payable to UMBF, Inc. and indicate in memory of Dr. Donald Langenberg on the memo line. Send your gift to: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Development Office, Attn:  Patricia Bates, 31 South Greene Street, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201. Please call 410-706-8503 with any questions. Gifts may also be made online at

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719