Dr. William H. Droegemueller
Twenty years after his NU athletic career, William Droegemueller wrote: "As the years go by, it has been of increasing personal satisfaction to have represented Northwestern University and to have come through for our greatest coach - Frank Hill - in the 1928 Olympic Games. It is not what the games, but what they represent." "Droegie" Droegemueller represented a dedicated team player that did much to serve his school, country, and profession.
A Northwestern track standout, Droegemueller distinguished himself in the 1926 indoor track season. He shattered the pole vault record at the quadrangular meet held in Patten Gym by vaulting 13 feet, a full foot higher than the previous mark. He took third in the pole vault in the conference outdoor championships in 1926 and set new conference and world's indoor dirt floor records of 13 feet, 2 1/2 inches in 1928. He surpassed that at the 1928 quadrangular meets with 13 feet, 6 1/2 inches, and won his event in the outdoor championships with 13 feet, 3 inches.
He achieved his highest mark at the 1928 Olympic tryouts reaching 13 feet, 9 3/4 inches. "Droegie" cleared the old Olympic record of 4.1 meters (about 13 feet, 5 1/2 inches) at the competition in Amsterdam and took second place, vaulting only a tenth of a meter below the first-place vault (4.2 meters).
Involved in many Northwestern activities outside of athletics, Droegemueller belonged to the reputable Deru honorary society and Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies. In 1928 he received the conference medal, awarded to one senior at each Big Ten school in recognition of academic and athletic excellence.
Droegemueller received his medical degree from Northwestern in 1932 and then served in a hospital unit during World War II before setting up his own ophthalmology practice. He was a member of the NU Alumni Association from 1931 to 1947, serving as director and class representative in 1941; served as director of the NU Chicago Club from 1934 to 1939; was 1937 vice president of the Medical Faculty Alumni Association; and served as regional director of the NU Alumni Association Board in 1948.
After retiring from practice, Chicago native Droegemueller and his wife, Florence (Education '28), moved from Chicago to Arizona. They attended the 50th reunion of their class in Evanston in 1978. Droegemueller died in 1987.