Avid hunters and fishermen do not usually become university presidents, but Carl W. McIntosh could not deny what he was born to do.
McIntosh became a university president almost by accident. He decided to take a job as a speech and debate teacher at the Southern Branch of the University of Idaho because of its rural setting and great fishing opportunities. Little did he know the resigning president would decide to make him acting dean of the university.
“It was one of those things where initially it wasn’t something he was set out to do,” said his daughter, Diana McIntosh. “In the beginning it was the right person at the right place at the right time.”
Under his leadership, the southern branch of the University of Idaho became its own Idaho State College. Once that happened he was in it for the long haul, his daughter Diana said. He went on to serve as president of two other universities during his lifetime. McIntosh died on Jan. 19 of natural causes at his home in Bozeman, Mont. He was 94.
McIntosh became Cal State Long Beach’s second president in 1959. Back then it was known as Long Beach College with an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students. McIntosh was determined to improve CSULB the same way he had Idaho State.
“I think what he really enjoyed most was to see the university grow, not only with students but also in the physical plant and in the programs that were offered so that it would be a top flight institution,” Diana said.
During his time at CSULB, enrollment increased to 30,000 students and many new buildings were constructed. The campus had three engineering buildings, two health and human service buildings, residence halls, and other facilities by the end of his presidency.
The campus acknowledged McIntosh’s achievements in 1980 by renaming one of its buildings. The Humanities Office Building was renamed the McIntosh Humanities Building.
“To have that in your own lifetime is an unusual accomplishment and he was always very honored that the community chose to do that,” Diana said of the renaming. “We were all very proud of him.”
McIntosh was born in 1914 in Redlands, Calif. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands before receiving a master’s and doctorate in speech from what is now known as the University of Iowa. McIntosh also served in the Army during World War II.
McIntosh was known for his excellent speaking skills. He won many national debate awards. His daughter said he was often sought after as a commencement speaker.
“He was a great raconteur. He was able to retell things in a marvelous way. He was a great storyteller with great wit and great sense of humor,” Diana said.
After leaving CSULB in 1969, McIntosh became president of Montana State University in Bozeman, Mo. He served as president for seven years before retiring.
McIntosh lived out the rest of his life in Bozeman. It was there that he returned to fishing and became an avid reader. McIntosh read over 2,000 books after retiring. He enjoyed discussing what he read with his family
“If we mentioned a book he would go ‘you know I think I read that let me check,'” Diana said. “[Reading] was something I had in common with my father. We’re all readers and it was always great to recommend books to each other.”
McIntosh is survived by his daughter Diana McIntosh and grandchildren Christopher Carl Kauppi and Erika Donnelly Kauppi. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Carroll McIntosh.