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Donor Profile: William Engelbrecht

Posted: July 20, 2011

William Engelbrecht, professor emeritus of anthropology, joined the Buffalo State faculty in 1973 and later initiated a summer field study program for undergraduate students at the Eaton Archaeological Site, a mid-sixteenth-century Iroquois village in West Seneca, New York. He led the field school program for 17 years, during which time students unearthed the remains of three Iroquois longhouses and amassed a vast collection of artifacts such as arrowheads, stone tools, and pottery.

Engelbrecht, a member of the Peterson Society, retired from teaching in 2003, but he continues to support students through the Summer Fieldwork Scholarship, a fund he established in 2008. The annual scholarship provides an undergraduate student with the opportunity to do excavation work at one of Buffalo State’s two local archaeological sites: Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown or Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island.

“They are both very important sites,” said Engelbrecht, who remains active in the New York State Archaeological Association. “They provide students with a great opportunity for hands-on learning. I specifically designated the award for summer fieldwork, because it’s tougher for students to find funding in the summer.”

Summer Fieldwork Scholarship recipients must be undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; preference is given to anthropology majors and minors. Lisa Marie Anselmi, chair and associate professor of anthropology, mentors the fieldwork scholar at the Beaver Island site, and Susan Maguire, assistant professor of anthropology, advises the scholar at the Old Fort Niagara site, in alternating years.

“It’s been very rewarding to stay engaged with some of my former students and my colleagues at Buffalo State,” said Engelbrecht, who recently completed the task of sorting, categorizing, and cataloging 335,433 pieces of debris found by students at the Eaton Site. “I learn from them, and it has made me really enjoy retirement.”


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