Karl Niederer ’75
Service to Otterbein
- Newtown, PA
- Director N.J. State Archives (Retired)
Award presented: September 26, 2020
Thanks to academic preparation and faculty guidance received at Otterbein, Karl was able to begin working towards his career goals in public history upon his graduation in 1975. Karl secured a research and curatorial internship at the Hagley Museum, followed by a two-year graduate fellowship in American history, museum, and archival studies at the University of Delaware. In 1978, he began a 40-year career with the New Jersey State Archives, serving first as a staff archivist and supervisor, then as State Archivist and director of the State Archives and Records Management Division for nearly two decades. In this role, Karl launched the nation’s largest program for improving local government records systems and services. During the 1980s and 1990s, Karl was able to leverage his professional skills to help establish the archives of Pi Beta Sigma Fraternity at Otterbein, which are on deposit in the University Archives. As Otterbein’s oldest Greek organization (1908), the history of Pi Beta Sigma spans more than a century of the school’s social life, providing valuable insight into how the Greek experience influenced students’ development and life and careers after graduation. Additionally, he served for more than two decades as a permanent trustee of the Pi Beta Sigma Scholarship Foundation, a body dedicated to providing college tuition assistance for fraternity members and the college community at large. Karl’s service and dedication to Pi Beta Sigma and Otterbein as a community has made Otterbein a better place.