Karl Emil Wild

* 1856 in St.Gallen, † 1923 in St.Gallen
Director of the ‘Handelsakademie’ (business academy, today: University of St.Gallen) from 1899 to 1903

Until 1903 the inauguration of the business academy was held under the leadership of Director (the title of ‘President’ was not in use at that time) Karl Emil Wild. Originally, it was planned that one of the four main teachers who held the title of Professor would take over as the director of the institution. However, since all the intended candidates had declined the job offer and there was no time to wait, the choice fell on the architect Karl Emil Wild.

Wild studied architecture at the Technical University of Stuttgart from 1875 to 1878 and then worked as an architect in Zurich and St. Gallen. Among other things, he was the architect of the municipal orphanage on the Girtannersberg in St.Gallen (later demolished for the new building of the ZIG/Headquarters of the Helvetia insurance company). In addition to his work as an architect, Wild was the director of the St.Gallen Museum of Industry and Trade (today the St.Gallen Textile Museum) from 1882 to 1923. He also served as a cantonal councillor (1891-1923) and as a national councillor (1893-1919) for the St. Gallen Federal Democratic Party. 

Wild was not a member of the faculty during his time as director of the academy but he was a member of the school council and a committed school politician from 1891 to 1923. He also gave public lectures within the school, for example in 1902/03 a lecture series on the development of the craft of lacemaking and its relationship to machine embroidery.

The beginnings of today’s University of St.Gallen were extremely modest. At the beginning the institution counted only seven regular students and 85 auditing students. The school did not have its own building but rented the ground floor of the west wing of the St. Gallen grammar school.

Historic events