During his student years at North Central from 1937-41, George Lotzenhiser majored in music. In addition to playing trombone in the school band and in the orchestra, he was student leader of the Pep Band and Derby Band. During his freshman year in 1938, he earned his Boy Scouts “Eagle Scout” award. He was also a member of the N.C. Cross Country Team for four years.
After graduating from N.C., Lotzenhiser attended Eastern Washington College on its first ever trombone music scholarship. His education plans were interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942. After World War II, he returned to Eastern to complete his studies. As student body president, he helped petition the state legislature to allow Eastern to issue Liberal Arts Degrees. As a senior in 1947, Lotzenhiser wrote the words and music for “All Hail to Eastern Washington,” which became, and still is, the school’s Alma Mater.
After graduating from EWU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, he went on to earn a master’s degree in music from the University of Michigan and a doctoral degree in education/music from the University of Oregon. He served on the faculty and as marching band director at the University of Arizona in the late 1950s. During this time, he travelled to Chicago to receive the “Boys Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout” award.
In 1960 Lotzenhiser returned to EWU as a professor of music. He oversaw the creation of the university’s first School of Fine Arts, serving as its first Dean until his retirement in 1983.
In addition to his career in higher education, Lotzenhiser had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy. He served on active duty in the Naval Reserves in World War II and in the Korean Conflict. Promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1977, he retired with that rank in 1983, after a 40-year active duty and reserve career.
A published composer and accomplished musical director, George Lotzenhiser remained active in retirement. He traveled often around the country to act as guest director at musical events, including EWU’s Military Ball in 2013.