LSC is saddened by the recent passing of Professor Emeritus Fritz Albert, who died on Sunday, Sept. 16 at the age of 90. He joined the Department of Agricultural Journalism, now LSC, faculty in 1954.
Albert taught film in the department, focusing on content and form in addition to production principles, in addition to teaching courses on photography. He produced more than 100 films during his 35 year tenure in the Department of Agricultural Journalism, winning numerous international awards. His work has been recognized by the Farm Film Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Society of America and Future Farmers of America.
Starting in the 1960s, Albert served as a juror to chose films for the biennial International Agricultural Film competition in Berlin, chairing the jury for six years. He also served on the advisory committee for CINE (Council on International Non-Theatrical Events) and chaired the committee tasked with selecting films to represent the United States at international competitions.
“All of us here in Life Sciences Communication are saddened by the loss of Professor Albert. He had a long and distinguished career in the department and as a filmmaker on agriculture, natural resources and rural development,” said LSC Chair Professor Larry Meiller. “He will be greatly missed by all of us in the LSC family and we are proud of his many contributions to the Wisconsin Idea and serving the people of this state through education and outreach.”
Albert was affiliated with UW Extension and involved in founding the Land Tenure Center in 1962. During the 1960s and 1970s Albert produced a dozen films on agrarian structure and land tenure in Latin America that were used in teaching at institutions ranging from Stanford University to the London School of Economics.
“He had a very broad perspective,” Professor Emeritus John Ross, recently told eCALS. “He made a lot of films on specific sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, but they were about more than just, say, how you cultivate the crop, as important as that part was. It was also about how that crop related to the climate and the people and the soils and the history of European settlers here and how they adapted. I think he was sensitive to that because he was an immigrant himself. He had a broad sense of the people and the culture.”
Before coming to the United States from his native Germany in 1954, Albert worked as a photographer and writer for a German daily newspaper and as a visual aid specialist for the West German Ministry of Agriculture. Albert first studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1950s, before returning with his family in 1954.
During his preeminent career Albert served on advisory committee’s for the UW’s Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, the West European Area Studies program and International Studies and Programs, as well as the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Cable Communication in 1972 and the Educational Communications Board in the 1980s. In 1984, he received the Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany for his efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding between Germany and the United States.