William Ernest Koenker was born on January 6, 1911, on a farm near Regent, North Dakota. He graduated from the North Dakota State Teachers College in Dickinson in 1934. He was a social studies teacher and principal at Dodge High School, in Dodge, North Dakota, from 1934-1937. He next attended the University of North Dakota, graduating with a Master of Arts degree in 1938. His thesis was entitled "The Rural Land Tax Problem in North Dakota with an Appraisal of the Income Value of Land as a Measure of Taxation." Following graduation, he acted as principal of the Walsh County Agricultural High School from 1938-1942.
Koenker entered the United States Army on July 16, 1942. He acted as an infantry instructor in Texas for over three years, before separating on January 14, 1946. Koenker became an instructor in Economics at UND in 1946. He soon began taking summer courses in economics at Ohio State University in Columbus. He took leave during the 1948-49 school year to complete his dissertation, entitled "Banking Trends in North Dakota, 1922-1947." In 1949, upon completion of his Ph.D., he was promoted to Assistant Professor.
In 1952, he was appointed chair of the Economics Department and promoted to Associate Professor. As department head, he was instrumental in the founding of Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He was further promoted to the rank of Professor in 1954. He received an Outstanding Teacher Award from the UND Alumni Association in 1958.
In 1962, Dr. Koenker was appointed to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs. He served the University in this position until his retirement in June 1976. New programs in aviation administration, computer science, and Indian Studies were established during these years. The Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as the Institutional Research Program were created during his tenure. He also took an active role in the hiring of several college Deans, and steered the University through accreditation. Following his retirement, he worked part-time for several years in Washington, D.C. soliciting research funds for UND.
William E. Koenker died on November 16, 1992, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Donation; the original acquisition records are unavailable