Over the years, many students have walked into the Holzer Student Health Center, but only a few may know of the man for whom the center is named: Dr. Oswald A. Holzer. His legacy of leadership and public service spanned four continents before reaching Florida Tech.
Holzer graduated from the Charles University Medical School in Prague in 1937 and served as a medical officer in the Czech Republic army. After the Nazis invaded his country in 1939, he fled to China where he met his wife Ruth Lequear. As warfare escalated, the couple moved to the U.S. and later South America, where Holzer served as a physician on oil production fields in Peru and Ecuador.
The family ultimately settled in Florida. After retiring in 1974, Holzer volunteered as the first medical director and physician at Florida Tech, where he remained for 10 years and played a key role in establishing the Student Health Center in 1975. In 1984, the Holzers created the Holzer-Lequear Endowment to support university medical genetics research.
Holzer’s daughter, author Joanie Schirm, said of her father, “My dad made many fast friendships among the Florida Tech administration and faculty and was a Florida Tech fan until his passing in 2000. I know he would be thrilled to see the fine progress that this world-class university continues to make!”
She added, “At 16, I worked in his office and witnessed his generosity as he left his legendary ‘No Charge’ mark on innumerable charge tickets.”
Schirm’s book , My Dear Boy: The Discovery of a Lifetime, to be published soon, features her father’s WWII experience and the discovery of letters written to and from him during 1939–46.