Chapter 34: The Coming of de Kiewiet

On June 11, 1951, during Commencement weekend, Rochester's fifth president, Cornelis Willem de Kiewiet, was formally installed in office, and next day he conferred 1,063 degrees.

The search for a successor to Valentine, begun immediately upon his resignation, was conducted by a trustee committee headed by Albert D. Kaiser, 1909. Since the papers of the committee are under seal until 1990 and because a good deal of the deliberations took the form of unrecorded conversations--true increasingly, of many aspects of University affairs-it is not possible to reconstruct the quest for a new chief executive as fully and as faithfully as a historian would like. 1

Elements in the story to be sure, are clear enough, as, for instance, an appeal by the trustee committee to any interested person in the University family to submit views on the qualities of the man whose personality and educational vision would go far to shape both the image and the character of the changing institution across the years that stretched ahead. Top echelon Rochester administrators were specifically requested to estimate for the guidance of the nominating committee the future requirements of their respective branches of the University.

Only a survey by Provost Gilbert on the "philosophy and objectives" of the University, which may have been a composite of the thinking of all file principal administrators, has been uncovered. Comprehensive, informed in content and cogently reasoned, it merits fairly detailed analysis. 2 "...The professional schools shall provide the highest possible quality of professional training," the document asserted, " all other schools...attention shall be paid to the preparation of students...for the work of the community, to an extent commensurate with a liberal education." Likewise, the University had obligations to furnish opportunities for adult education, part-time study, and leadership "in the cultural advancement of the community and the nation."

Proceeding to specifics, Gilbert emphatically stressed quality in the student bodies, not "mere growth in size," in "a thoroughly integrated" institution. Along with personal integrity, faculty members should unite classroom competence with zest for creative scholarship," compensation should be adjusted to meet steadily rising costs of living. For the next decade , the accent should be placed on "refinement and improvement," consolidation of recent gains, and on higher qualitative levels of achievement. Tentatively, Gilbert anticipated an enrollment of 1,100 to 1,200 male undergraduates, 600-700 women, and about 170 graduate students in arts and science. Additional residence halls, larger athletic and library facilities at Prince Street, and expansion of Todd Union and Rhees Library were cited as urgent necessities, a River Campus chapel less so; for these purposes, a fund-raising effort would be necessary such as had not been undertaken since 1924. Certain smaller college departments of instruction, listed by name, needed more teaching personnel, the division of honors studies ought to be extended to include more disciplines, and the program of vocational guidance and placement should be upgraded.

The Medical Center Gilbert considered to be in excellent shape. Departmental weaknesses had either been repaired or were in process of correction, and plans were afoot for a department of public health, as an essential factor in a top-notch medical complex; student population there, as at the Eastman School, should not be increased. On the whole, the Eastman School was in good condition, though an associate director and a dormitory for men were obvious urgencies.

"...The rise of the University's national prestige in the past twenty years has been due to the distinguished graduate work and research," Gilbert pointed out, and, for the future, he recommended the development of graduate training in the humanities and the social studies, and, the construction of a residence hall for graduate students. Highly desirable objectives for the University School were curtailment in registration to a level commensurate with first-rate instruction, and more offerings in adult education.

Unless University financial resources were greatly enlarged, retrenchment in curricula would become inescapable; a fund-raising organization, therefore, should be created to "insure a steady growth in unrestricted income." After enumerating the many burdens that devolved upon the president of the University, Gilbert advocated that he should have four "lieutenants" (whose scope of responsibility was broadly outlined) in the central administration--the provost and officers charged with financial development, public relations, and public information respectively. Owing to the growing complexity of the University, regular meetings of, the central administrative officers and deans and directors were a prime desideratum.

Finally, Gilbert soliloquized on the betterment of channels of communication inside the University community. Professors and graduates ought to have "more direct access" to the trustee board, though, in the Provost's judgment, the recurrent requests by graduates for the right to elect several trustees was "ill-considered." By and large, the Gilbert analysis was an exceptional document, rooted in broad experience, and calculated to be serviceable in acquainting potential candidates for the presidency not only with the current state of the University but with the basic prospects for the near future; not a few of the proposals, it may be interpolated, were translated into reality during the de Kiewiet decade.

In the light of reports like Gilbert's and from their own reflections, the trustee committee on the presidency drafted a set of particulars for the top executive officer, recalling a similar blueprint prepared before the selection of Valentine. He should be a man of proved executive and administrative competence, preferably with teaching experience; in the age range of the forties, he should be robust in health, have an attractive personality, possess the sterling virtues of tact and humor, speak well, and have a demonstrated concern for young men and women. He should manifest a "vital and dynamic interest" in existing Rochester educational programs (not excluding athletics), be committed to move forward qualitatively rather than in quantity, and show enthusiasm for the potentialities of the U. of R.

To a minimum, at least, the new president should be willing to take part in civic and community life; then too, he should be convinced of the importance of the spiritual side of living and believe firmly in the American way of life, defined as thrift, hard work, loyalty, personal freedoms, and the integrity of the family, "in contrast to fuzzy thinking on the 'isms,' government aid, and individual security." His wife ought to be "affable, capable," and agreeable to taking part in University and community affairs. 3

Besides consultations with Rochester professors and alumni keenly concerned about the next chief executive, the trustee nominating committee conferred for months in a score of sessions, many of them lasting for hours. Whether to select an inside man, several of whom were in the pool of potential presidents, or to secure an outsider provoked no little debate. From first to last about 145 individuals, academic executives and others, came under scrutiny; from them a small preferential list was ultimately winnowed out.

Men in this category were personally interviewed by committee members and several of the candidates visited Rochester to ascertain the lay of the land and to make the acquaintance of the trustees. Evidently, G. Keith Funston, president of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut (and presently chosen president of the New York Stock Exchange), Everett N. Case, president of Colgate University, and General Walter Bedell Smith, onetime ambassador of the United States to the Soviet Union, stood high among the possibilities from outside of Rochester.

In the summer of 1950 a member of the trustee committee learned from a Cornell University executive that the forty-eight year old de Kiewiet, acting president of the Ithaca institution for more than a year, might be available for the Rochester post, adding that "he was a Dutchman and that the trustees would have to ride herd on him carefully." Two trustees called on the de Kiewiets, discussed the presidential opportunity in detail, and apparently de Kiewiet tentatively indicated readiness to strike out on fresh lines at mid-passage in his career.

So impressed was one trustee that he wished, impulsively, to engage the Cornell executive straightaway, but instead the de Kiewiets came to Rochester and were entertained at dinner by the trustee committee and their wives. That same evening the committee voted to invite him to become the fifth president.

"The first time that I saw the U. of R. and its, people," de Kiewiet once observed, "I liked the whole spirit and tempo so much that I knew that was the place that I wanted to be.'' It was understood in trustee circles that de Kiewiet had considerable backing for the Cornell presidency and that he might actually be chosen at a trustee meeting in Ithaca scheduled for October 20, 1950. (There is reason to believe, one Rochester trustee remembered, that the Cornell body actually made a proposal to him.) Hence the speed with which the Rochester group reached its decision; negotiations with the nominating committee culminated in de Kiewiet's acceptance, which was publicly disclosed on October 20, 1950. Like his predecessors, he would be compensated, aside from salary, with a home, allowances for maintenance of his household and entertainment, and an automobile. Hurried and unorthodox though the election procedure was, the trustees as a whole, recognizing the urgency of decision, ratified the choice.

On October 21, a Rochester newspaper carried a large picture of the smiling, bespectacled President-to-be seated before a familiar portrait of Abraham Lincoln. "In Dr. de Kiewiet," Trustee Chairman Eisenhart told the press, "the University is most fortunate in having found a man who combines a distinguished career as a teacher and an educator with wide experience as a university administrator..." Before the month ended, de Kiewiet met the principal Rochester administrative officers, all of whom were "very much impressed and very happy with the appointment." Presidents of other institutions of higher learning informed Rochester acquaintances that "the University had hit the jackpot" with one of the outstanding educators of his generation, who promised "to give really outstanding leadership to the University and to have a large, influence in national educational circles." 4


Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, de Kiewiet and his twin brother were taken as infants by their family to the Dominion of South Africa, where the future executive obtained his early education, winning degrees at the University of Witwatersrand in cosmopolitan Johannesburg. Thence he proceeded to the University of London, which in 1927 granted him a Ph.D. in history, and he completed his professional training with studies at the famous universities of Paris and Berlin. Along the way he attained enviable linguistic fluency in Dutch and Afrikaans, French and German. Equipped with these excellent academic credentials, he received an invitation in 1929 to join the history faculty at the State University of Iowa. "I knew so' little about Iowa he one day confessed, "that if anybody had said that Iowa was pronounced Ohio I would have believed him." Yet he accepted and remained until 1941 when he was called to the chair of Modern European history at Cornell University. While in Iowa he became a naturalized citizen.

de Kiewiet had established a respectable reputation as a stimulating and seasoned scholar not alone in the lecture hall and seminar room, but also as the author of British Colonial Policy and the South African Republics (1929), The Imperial Factor in South Africa (1937), A History of South Africa (1941), and as editor of Studies in, British History (1941); he likewise contributed substantially to the authoritative Cambridge History of the British Empire (1936). When he accepted the Rochester call, he had on the stocks a history of the Boer War, which he confidently expected to finish, since "I have to fight against the illiteracy which often results from administration..." But like writing projects which Presidents Anderson and Rhees intended to carry out, the book was never finished. Certain speculations on the values of historical learning he had set down in print, quoting approvingly the utilitarian dictum of David Hume, "Let your science be human, and such as may have a direct reference to action and society." 5

For ten "good years" at Ithaca he combined scholarly industry with committee and administrative work, proved himself competent in areas beyond the curriculum, and progressed steadily through the academic hierarchy. During the Second World War he directed Army Area and Language Programs in four foreign tongues, and an oral approach to language learning which he fostered was continued after the war. Because of demonstrated executive ability he was named, successively, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provost, the number two man, and acting president. Belonging to a variety of national and international organizations, he took an active part, in public and educational affairs. Under the sponsorship of the Carnegie Corporation, for example, he made (1947) a comprehensive, on-the-spot survey of several African institutions of higher learning, and he undertook a second extensive trip in 1951 as leader of an investigation of conditions in East Africa; on a hunting expedition he was attacked by a fierce, wounded buffalo and escaped most miraculously. He reported his experiences and observations in articles for the Rochester Times-Union, subsequently put out in pamphlet form and widely distributed.

Noted as an authority on Africa, de Kiewiet foresaw grave troubles if the black dependencies of the European powers detached themselves too rapidly from their western connections. Wisdom dictated, he thought, that the United States should hold aloof from African politics but should grant technical and economic assistance to recently liberated peoples. A forthright and compelling exponent of the democratic way of life, de Kiewiet minced no words in denouncing Communism, "a philosophical fraud." Any professor known to be a Communist weakened "his claim to the asylum of the University" since "academic freedom imperatively connotes academic responsibility."' Academic freedom he conceived to be the right of scholarship in the pursuit of knowledge in an environment in which the emancipating powers of knowledge are the least subject to arbitrary restraints." Pragmatic in fundamental educational philosophy, he believed profoundly that "the thought of the scholar should be made available to the active life of society."

Alarmed, perhaps, by the explosion of knowledge, doubling every decade, he told the 1959 Colgate University graduating class, "Of all the defects or imbalances in our society, the greatest is the disproportion between the many who add to the astronomic sum of things that are known and the few who try to put it together in organized patterns, to deduce principles, to stimulate critical judgments, to clarify." 6

In Europe or America, de Kiewiet accumulated an array of hobbies, diverse varieties of recreation. Fishing and boating were favorites and he was not above reproaching a friend who fancied that the sea was intended for swimming, not fishing. With his "sub-tropical background," he decidedly preferred Florida and the Bahamas as places of relaxation and frankly acknowledged that disinterest in the coast of Maine was "a great weakness," as in truth it was. Keeping bees, woodworking, and raising orchids were pet diversions and he had a small greenhouse put up at the back of the presidential residence in Rochester. In time he acquired a farmstead in the nearby town of Hamlin where he kept beehives for honey and to pollinate apple and peach trees, and he prided himself as a cultivator of a brand of corn called Luther Hill; for a winter holiday rendezvous he chose a spot at Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. He indulged in hunting, was fond of golf, and described himself as a football "fan." 7

As an administrator "high above Cayuga's waters," de Kiewiet helped to set up area studies on China, southeastern Asia, and cultural anthropology, and a division of languages responsible for teaching modern foreign languages," plans to create a parallel division of literature were fought by certain professors whose private enclaves would be invaded and the most that could be brought off was a pale compromise. Policies that de Kiewiet pursued at Cornell foreshadowed lines of action that he espoused at Rochester. Given his European antecedents and his African specialty in scholarship, it is no wonder that he wished to stimulate greater student concern in "the problems of the outside anxious world." As acting president, he pressed for better integration of the heterogeneous components of Cornell, and wanted the board of trustees, which he felt was poorly led and poorly managed, to play a more effective role in University management. For years the budget had been out of balance due to sharply increased costs, and de Kiewiet on instructions from the trustees contrived to bring order into finances, "at great cost to his personal popularity," the most recent historian of Cornell tells us, "and turned a giant deficit into a surplus.

"A certain peremptoriness of manner" caused animosity toward de Kiewiet in some faculty circles, which salary increases tended to temper, and a sharp dispute with a portion of the Cornell maintenance workers over bargaining rights and wages ended in a setback for "the stubborn Dutchman"--a tag subsequently heard in Rochester. One day de Kiewiet would write that the heavy Cornell burden "was taking a day of my life for every day that it lasted."

Praises of admirers for his "splendid leadership" rang in his ears when de Kiewiet departed from the Ithaca campus, and funds were raised for a de Kiewiet scholarship in history and for an oil painting of him. An acquaintance of Iowa years expressed astonishment that he had accepted the Rochester presidency because he "hated Iowa professorial politics. How did you ever subdue your machinations ever to climb on the heap and crow? Or were you pushed?" 8

Nearly six feet tall, solidly built, ruddy in complexion, and uncommonly energetic, the fifth President had "a strong chin that hints at forcefulness;" yet "his ready smile and twinkle" suggested a warm and friendly person. A newspaperman wrote that he had "the look of a craftsman, with frosty eyebrows, a square friendly face and graying hair;" in conversation he preferred to question rather than to talk. Marching in an academic procession, gowned in a claret-colored robe and wearing a flat black medieval cap-and a hood faced with salmon--symbols of the London doctorate--de Kiewiet impressed onlookers as every inch a president. Known to intimates as "Dick," he was sensitive about the correct spelling of his full name; the "de" had a small "d" and a space between it and "Kiewiet," Rochesterians were informed. 9

The new first lady of the University, Lucea Hejinian de Kiewiet, an alumna of Mt. Holyoke College, held a Ph.D. in physiology with a specialty in nutritional science. Her hobbies were cookbooks and unusual recipes collected in America, Europe, and Africa, or passed along by an Armenian uncle. Three teenage children, two daughters and a son, completed the presidential household.


In strong contrast to the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the formal induction of Alan Valentine, the inauguration of de Kiewiet possessed a stoical simplicity--a delightful and instructive "family affair." Instead of a troop of representatives from institutions of higher learning, special guests at the ceremony were restricted to a dozen persons, almost all of them educators and public servants from metropolitan Rochester. While the inaugural procession streamed from the corridor of the Eastman School into the Eastman Theatre, a School Commencement Orchestra performed, and at the end of the ceremonies the Men's College Glee Club led in singing "The Genesee;" prayers were offered by the bishop of the Rochester, Episcopalian diocese and the University chaplain.

Three addresses of welcome and esteem were delivered. In the name of the faculties, Professor Noyes cordially greeted the President and remarked that his colleagues believed that truly great university executives were "scholars who have climbed somewhat painfully the rungs of the academic ladder." R. Tenney Johnson of the Men's College class of 1951 expressed undergraduate appreciation of de Kiewiet. "They like his simple sturdy message of hope," he said. "They like the sound of his spiritual creed, which he has himself described as 'reverence for life.'" On behalf of the alumni and alumnae, Violet Jackling Somers, 1923, assured the President of the loyal backing of the graduates. When one of the spokesmen in a slip of the tongue referred to de Kiewiet as the "fifth president of the United States," the huge audience broke loose in a roar of applause, testifying thus to the genial warmth and informality that pervaded the occasion. Before the evening was over a bewildered bat flew into the theatre from nowhere, fluttered around, and conveniently vanished without causing untoward disturbance.

The ceremony of investiture reproduced the Valentine induction, with Trustee Chairman Eisenhart and aides handing the President the several symbols of his authority. Then de Kiewiet read the inaugural message, which focused upon three central phases of university commitment and dwelt on the moral responsibility of higher education. Collegiate and advanced learning, he pointed out, had thrived in the United States as nowhere else in the world, plain evidence of its vitality and its support by American society. Yet "a university is never fully mature. It must grow and change, else it languishes and loses its place," he said.

High priority in the university role was assigned to the pursuit of "knowledge whithersoever it may lead and whatever its present usefulness may be...The two capital symbols of a university are the library and the lonely scholar." As its second main obligation a university must "cooperate in the technological process. In the ranks of scholarship there must be those who take it upon themselves to cooperate with industry, the marketplace, and the council halls, to transmute knowledge into power, and to bridge the gap between what is known and man's practical benefit...There is no field of knowledge or study," the new President proclaimed, "which does not have its practical consequences." Third, and most important of all, was "the obligation to relate both knowledge and technology to man's quest for dignity, peace, justice, the good life--all the qualities and aspirations which make man a spiritual as well as a physical being..."

Finally, "education should labor as never before to confirm men and women in a sense of moral purpose. Our greatest affliction today is...the existence within ourselves of apathy, fatalism, or at worst surrender...As long as our moral powers are blunted, our convictions listless and relaxed," he asserted with his mind directed to the ongoing "Cold War" with the Soviet Union, "we cannot recognize Communism for the great heresy it actually is...Intellectual activity emancipates men from knowledge that is incomplete, taste that is false, morality that is inadequate."

"Within the same academic faculty," he said, "there are always present the dual activities of affirming and denying, of defending the old and insisting on the new... of counseling orthodoxy and revealing new faith. They are both essential roles. To safeguard them we have academic freedom." In felicitous phrases, the President spoke of references to the U. of R. and its internationally known professors he had encountered during recent travels in Africa and Europe and, like his predecessors, he alluded to the fine relationship prevailing between town and gown. That linkage he intended, to nourish, even as he would strive to enhance the national and international image of the University.

Appraising the inaugural address, a Rochester editor hailed, it as "an eloquent expression of vision and idealism, no less than a...philosophy of what the well educated mind has to offer in this day of confused thinking. Rochester has gained a citizen' of eminence and power; the University, a leader who will carry it to new distinction."

In his first pronouncement to a graduating class--June 12, 1951--de Kiewiet summoned its members to "a conception of life that emphasizes hope and achievement." With the grim struggle in Korea shadowing his thought, he assured the graduates that the world was full of opportunities for the brave, the talented, the skillful, and than the demand for these qualities was bound to grow. Speaking to the alumni body at a Todd Union gathering, de Kiewiet described the graduates as "one of the most important elements of a university--in its thinking, planning, and hope" and remarked that he expected to lean on them for all manner of support. To which the Alumni President rejoined that de Kiewiet could rely upon the graduates for "the utmost backing"--an assurance soon put to the test. 10


No one can doubt that the de Kiewiet decade, extending into 1961, saw the most meaningful progress ever achieved at the U. of R. or that the President advanced to front rank among American university executives of the period. At nearly every turn de Kiewiet proceeded on the fundamental principle that it was the bounden duty of leadership to lead; as never before the guiding University watchwords were grow and expand, without for an instant transgressing the historic Rochester doctrine of adherence to quality and excellence. But it is not necessary to accept without reservation the President's personal evaluation that in less than three years after he came on the scene, the University had been "thoroughly transformed;" at many points, seeming novelties possessed the character of evolutions, nothing more radical than that. 11

Yet merely to enumerate the more conspicuous elements of creative change hints at the magnitude of what came to pass. First in significance was the unification of the colleges for men and women, effective in October, 1955, and the attendant Development Fund Campaign. Before the epochal merger had been fully absorbed, professional colleges of engineering, education, and business administration were instituted, and the educational opportunities available at the University School were widened.

Graduate work and learned research expanded at a swift, even a dramatic, rate, being promoted by new faculty appointments of specialists and by financial grants from government agencies, foundations, and industries.

On a wider front, the federation of rather autonomous divisions of the University grew into a somewhat more coherent synthesis--a conglomerate of learning, perhaps a "multiuniversity." To house the elaborated central administration and its secretarial and allied staffs, a spacious administration building was erected (1958) on the western extremity of the River Campus, cutting away yet another precious piece of green space. Shortly before his withdrawal from the presidency, de Kiewiet launched an exciting campaign for almost $50 million for academic programs, faculty salaries, and new capital construction.

In the course of the 1950's, the full-time faculty at the River Campus nearly doubled, teachers holding research doctorates jumped to ninety percent, and their compensation, enlarged fringe benefits included, improved impressively. While undergraduate enrollment rose by almost forty percent, curricular offerings were enriched, as, for example, by the introduction of studies on Canada and the non-western (awkward term) societies. Concurrently, alumni and alumnae were drawn into closer, more effective communion with their Alma Mater, and relations between the University and the Rochester community were bettered.

When the de Kiewiet decade ended, the accomplishments could be viewed with high satisfaction, tinged though the record was with certain misgivings along the way.


de Kiewiet delighted to quote (and adapt) an observation of A.A. Milne applicable to the university president, "He isn't really anywhere, he's somewhere else instead." Contrary to advance calculations, apparently, the demands upon his time and energies at Rochester were almost as exacting as at Cornell, though at first he did not complain (except that he had little chance to care for the plants in his conservatory) "for there is a great deal of valuable work to be done."

Upon taking the helm, he was well-nigh swamped by a flood of requests for speeches to civic organizations, regional graduate clubs, college societies, educational bodies, and the like. After giving thirty-five talks during his first three months in office, he mused, "They seem to be determined to find out how long my vocal chords will last;" in fact, they were still in good working order at the end of ten years. Formal addresses were replete with apt historical allusions, Biblical passages, and quotations reflecting his wide reading. If for the laity a certain heaviness pervaded some of the more academic utterances, there were likewise appreciated snippets of humor.

According to the President's own summary, the central themes of his public appearances and writing in the early years at Rochester were the cultivation of the humanities as a practical urgency, the broadening of the college curriculum to embrace instruction on neglected areas of the globe, and the necessity for the United States, if it wished to retain its place in the sun, to enlarge the college population, to emphasize skill and excellence in education, to increase the supply of able scientists and technologists.

And he freely set forth his thinking on other topics, such as the unwisdom of universal military training, the climate of anti-intellectualism propagated by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, and men of his stripe; vigorously denying that Communism had insidiously permeated higher education, as was absurdly alleged, he called attention to "the very real threat to civil liberties which an hysterical fear of Communism can create...We must be alert to the dangers from a foreign enemy," he counseled, "and at the same time, make sure that we do not lose the essentials of freedom itself." Despite his detestation of Communism, de Kiewiet, always the historian at bottom, frequently argued with strong-minded eloquence that American society should learn from the Soviet example in exalting trained minds, in giving social status and special influence to the well-educated; for him men of learning comprised the most valuable single element in the nation.

The "oppressive responsibilities" of the presidency by no means quenched "his ardent and lively interest in everything that concerns Africa." From his pen flowed articles on the perplexities thrown up by the emergence of new African nations and the faults of white minorities in dealings with native populations. After spending the summer of 1960 in Africa making a realistic assessment of educational needs, under the sponsorship of the Carnegie Corporation, he prepared a second series of reports of experiences for a Rochester newspaper, which subsequently reprinted them in a pamphlet. (Characteristically, he did not forget to bring back rare African plants and bushes.) Close to his heart was a project for an Institute of African Studies, not necessarily at Rochester, but within easy range of the official world and library resources of Washington. It would be staffed by younger scholars, free of the "anti-imperialist" outlook of older experts, and working in liaison with kindred spirits in Western Europe.

More than once de Kiewiet protested that it was impossible to accept all the invitations to speak that he received. He had to have "time to think, time to be patient with people, time to concentrate on important problems, time to exercise true leadership." Engaged as he was in "the laborious and delicate task of changing the structure and habits of the college," of overcoming "the extraordinary confusion...the neglect and mismanagement in curriculum and academic situation... confused, uneconomic and out of touch with the needs of modern society...," as he wrote, he just could not fritter away energies on matters of small pith and moment like public speeches and press interviews. Yet four months after penning this assessment he rejoiced over the "vitality, a spirit, a creativeness in the institution of which we can be proud." 12

Although the scholarly treatise on the Boer War gathered dust, de Kiewiet published over thirty essays and addresses, composed chapters for books on academic and international subjects--such as the pernicious apartheid policies in South Africa--co edited the Dufferin-Carnarvon Correspondence (1955), and. brought out a set of incisive lectures as The Anatomy of South African Misery (1956).

He also accepted membership in many state, national, and international commissions and organizations which, together with his energetic promotion of learning in the infant African countries, made him a prominent figure in American higher education. Perhaps his more meaningful contributions in this connection resulted from the presidency of the Association of American Universities, chairmanships of the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and of the Committee on Education in Tropical Africa., and from participation on the influential Council on Foreign Relations. On his initiative a selected group of executive heads of institutions of higher learning in New York State, nicknamed the "Fabulous Five," convened occasionally for "off the record communion and exchange." Additionally, he served as a director or trustee of the University, the Rochester Civic Music Association, the George Eastman House, the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and the Lincoln-Rochester Trust Company.

Five universities in the United States and one each in Canada, Great Britain, France, and South Africa confirmed the stature of de Kiewiet by bestowing honorary doctorates upon him. And, for his role in fostering cultural ties between France and the United States, the French Republic elected him an officer in the Legion of Honor.

On the home front, he was concerned, as he had been at Ithaca, to have the board of trustees identify itself more intimately with University management. Meetings of the trustees, he believed, were too infrequent to keep members "reasonably informed of the varied problems of an academic institution...," and "unless the trustees are, informed they cannot be the spokesmen they should be for the interests of the University." As he stated, the board, "the single most important agency a university has to state its case and influence opinion," had two cardinal functions: first and foremost, "to advance the educational objectives of the institution," and second, "to ensure the most beneficial application of existing resources" to those objectives. 13

To promote the diverse interests of the University, de Kiewiet traveled extensively, conferring with policymaking personages in the great charitable foundations, in business firms, in military and. other branches. of the national government.

"The students are the University's most important asset," the President was prone to repeat, and he felt that the greatest gift a university could give a 'student was "to place him at the feet of a powerful mind." In his judgment, undergraduates were increasingly more mature, increasingly more internationally minded. Concern for undergraduate welfare won him "the respect and affection of all," the Interpres of 1952 reported; farther along in his Rochester years after the student newspaper protested bitterly that undergraduates never had an opportunity to meet and communicate directly with the President, de Kiewiet responded by turning up at student

social functions of one sort and another. He acquainted himself with the procedures of the Honors Division by acting one year as the "outside" examiner for a seminar on the British Empire. Persuaded of the vital place of religion in the life of the well-rounded man or woman, he took steps to stimulate religious interest among undergraduates. On the other side, he had "a bit of a run-in" with a Rochester clergyman "over a perfectly nonsensical matter."

Interest in the athletic aspect of the extra curriculum prompted de Kiewiet to attend intercollegiate games and sports banquets and to despatch heartening telegrams to teams playing on foreign fields. "Almost the, first problem brought to my attention," he wrote, "was athletic relations with Hobart College," and the question bobbed up repeatedly until the restoration...of games with the Geneva institution in October, 1956, to the undisguised elation of a hitherto disgruntled segment of the alumni; half as a conciliatory gesture, Hobart, in 1952 conferred an L.H.D. on the Rochester executive.


Among the enduring features of the de Kiewiet period worthy of consideration in a little detail was the proliferation of the personnel, involved in administration and finance. When the President took the helm he thought that the University had a "remarkably clear administrative structure" with a minimum of overlapping, but that mood soon gave way to the twin convictions that reorganization and a more elaborate apparatus were required for the expanding institution and, that the component branches of the institution must realize more adequately that they were held together by far more than "common allegiance to a heating plant."

As the initial step, an Office of University Development was created (1951) with Donald W. Gilbert, promoted from provost to vice-president, as director. To him and his staff was delegated primary responsibility for planning to obtain new capital resources to finance ever larger needs, working closely with the coordinator of sponsored ''research and the alumni secretary. The University "cannot stand still," the President stated, "to do so is the first sign of stagnation...To keep its place and to advance it must have significant and sustained support...The [Rochester] community and the University," he went on, "are inter-dependent; each shares richly in the other's progress." But financial planning was only the beginning, for the Development Office functioned as a clearinghouse for new academic and research undertakings, assisted the President in decisions on teaching personnel and physical properties, cultivated more intimate bonds with the Rochester community, and supervised publications and the like designed to inform the public on University work and financial needs. As first assistant to Gilbert, a clever, imaginative newspaperman, Andrew D. Wolfe, was enlisted and in half a dozen months the Development Office was a going concern. 14

Leaving the provostship vacant, de Kiewiet appointed (1952) an administrative secretary of the University in the person of Robert H. McCambridge, who had worked with him at Cornell. Besides keeping the trustee records, he became a liaison man for the President, involved in promoting the coordination of the several colleges and schools. The University business office underwent substantial expansion in line with sharper allocation of responsibilities necessitated by the growth and increasing complexity of the institution. Each week the main financial officers consulted (1953) with the President; and in 1954 Treasurer Thompson became senior vice-president, Hulbert W. Tripp was named vice-president for investments and general business manager, with an associate business manager at his side. LaRoy Thompson was given the title of director of research administration and subsequently of associate treasurer and in 1959, treasurer Ruth A. Hemenway, on the financial staff since 1926, was chosen as director of budgets and Richard J. Crego, who entered the business office in 1946 and became bursar four years later, as associate controller. 15

Fresh momentum was imparted (1952) to graduate work by the selection of Professor Noyes as dean of the Graduate School, who represented in a manner of speaking the interests of science, while a new office of associate dean was entrusted to Professor. Beck, who would look after the concerns of the "arts" departments.

To expand contacts with the community at large, Don W. Lyon joined (1952) the department of education and directed University communication by radio and television. Well received by the viewing public was (1952) a biweekly telecast "University Open House," which depicted many aspects of the University in operation; popular, too, was a "University Commentary" series dealing largely with contemporary events. 16

In the spring of 1958, Donald E. Smith, who had broad and successful experience in public relations and development at Washington and Lee University, came to the campus as director (after 1961 vice-president) of University Relations. Under his general supervision were placed the University of Rochester Fund, the Office of Public Information, radio and television services, and work with alumni and alumnae. The appointment, President de Kiewiet s aid, would strengthen the valued linkage of the University with, the Rochester area and with national educational and industrial institutions. 17

To coordinate and achieve greater effectiveness in the management and planning of University policies, the deans, Director Hanson, and the chief financial officers from 1952 onward convened periodically for consultations. Known eventually as the president's cabinet, a typical agenda of this body ranged over a college tuition exchange plan for faculty children, intensification of undergraduate religious activity, procedures to be followed with regard to non-teaching personnel, and intramural athletics at the Medical Center. 18

Assigned responsibility in 1954 for the integration of academic programs inside the University and for relations with secondary schools, Henry C. Mills was named Vice-President for Educational Administration. The vacancy thus created in the deanship of University School and as director of the Summer Session was filled by Howard R. Anderson, who had attained a national, reputation in the United States Office of Education and as a writer of books and learned articles. Well known to de Kiewiet as an educational expert and endowed with unusually practical common sense, Anderson had surveyed (1953) the educational resources of metropolitan Rochester and drafted recommendations on ways and means of enlarging the proportion of secondary school graduates who matriculated in colleges, of reducing high school "drop-outs," and of broadening the training of secondary school teachers at the University. Becoming provost and briefly acting president, in 1960 Anderson withdrew from the University at the middle of the following year. 19

Shortly before de Kiewiet's retirement, the central administration comprised the President, the Provost, the Senior Vice-President and Treasurer, the Vice-President for Investments, the Vice-President for Educational Administration, the Director of Research Administration and Associate Treasurer, the Director of Budgets, the Business Manager, the Associate Controller, the Associate Director of the U. of R. Fund, the Director of University Relations with three colleagues in charge of graduate affairs, public information, and television and radio, respectively, the Dean of the University Council on Graduate Study, the Director of Admissions and Student Aid, and the University Secretary who had also been appointed director of registration. Almost all these executives and a supporting clerical cast had quarters in the newly completed Administration Building. In the meantime, the impending retirement of Dean Lester O. Wilder prefaced in 1954 a drastic reconstruction of the College of Arts and Science administration. Under the overall supervision of J. Edward Hoffmeister

as chief administrative officer of the college--to whom, as to his counterparts in the other University components, more authority in the selection and promotion of faculty personnel had been delegated--the office of dean of instruction and student services was created. To that post was named Margaret L. Habein, who two years before had come to Rochester as dean of women from a similar position at the University of Kansas, and she remained at the U. of R. until 1957. Cooperating with her were an associate dean of instruction and student services together with a dean of men and a dean of women. On the fringe of this combination, Joseph W. Cole arrived on the campus in 1954 as. associate director of testing and counseling and as a member of the department of education; rising stage by stage through the administrative ranks, Cole advanced to an associate provostship for student affairs (1967). 20

When Hoffmeister decided (1956) to revert to his first love of full time teaching and research, his place was taken by Professor Noyes and as dean of students allied with him was McCrea Hazlett, brought in 1957 from an executive role at the University of Chicago. Presently Hazlett succeeded Noyes as dean of the college and in 1961 he was promoted to the provostship of the University and later vice-president, though after a serious illness he relinquished the office of provost in 1968. He remained as vice-president for special academic activities and consultant to the president and resumed the teaching of English. Specially trained in the literature of the seventeenth century he developed a lively interest in the art and literature of India. Upon the establishment in 1958 of separate professional schools of engineering, business administration, and education, to be related farther along, deans were appointed to preside over each of these new components in the University structure. 21

Footnotes for Chapter 34

  1. Trustee Records, X, November 4, 1950, Appendix XILV.
  2. Donald W. Gilbert, ''The State of the University of Rochester, December, 1949. " de Kiewiet Papers.
  3. Trustee Records, X, February 4, 1950, Appendix XVIII.
  4. Charles S. Wilcox to A.J. May, April 3, 1968. Rhees Library Archives. M. Herbert Eisenhart to A.J. May, April 23, 1968. Ibid. R D&C, October 21, 1950. New York Times, October 22, 1950. Donald W. Gilbert to Alan Valentine, October 23, 1950. Gilbert Papers. Gilbert to Marion Fry, November 2, 1950. Ibid. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet to Gordon Gray, February 15, 1952. de Kiewiet Papers.
  5. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet, "The Practical Uses of. History," Social Education, VIII (1944), 348-350. de Kiewiet, "The Egghead and You," address at the University of Minnesota, March 20, 1958. (Incomplete lists of his publications and speeches and a few addresses recorded on tape are deposited in Rhees Library Archives.) de Kiewiet to Mary Donlon, June 25, 1951. de Kiewiet Papers.
  6. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet, "Academic Freedom," an address at the University of Natal, July 26, 1960. Rhees Library Archives. de Kiewiet, "Academic Freedom Today," Educational Record, XXIX (1948), 400-409. de Kiewiet, "What Does the World Look Like," June 8, 1959, l-2. Rhees Library Archives.
  7. Current : Biography (1953), pp. 155-156. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, H (1952), p. 186. Interpres, XCIII (1952), 12. R T-U, June 6, 11, 1951.
  8. Bishop, A History of Cornell, pp. 545, 558, 571-573, and esp. pp. 592-596. New York Times, October 9, November 27, December 7, 1950. William J. Myers to Cornelis W. de Kiewiet, June 18, 1951. de Kiewiet Papers. Naomi Bottin to de Kiewiet, April 16, 1951 (7). Ibid.
  9. RAR, XII (1950), no. 1, 4-5. Robert H. McCambridge to Marie Martens Snell, 1927, May 11, 18, 1951. de Kiewiet Papers.
  10. RAR, XII (1951), no. 4, 6-9. R D&C, June 10-13, 1951. R T-U, June 12, 1951.
  11. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet to W. M. Macmillan, December 29, 1953. de Kiewiet Papers.
  12. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet, "Education for Survival," Scientific Monthly, LXXVI (February, 1953), 57-62. de Kiewiet, "Let's Globalize Our Universities," Saturday Review, XXXVI (September 12, 1953), 13-14. de Kiewiet to Helen D. Bragdon, March 14, 1953. de Kiewiet Papers. de Kiewiet to W.M. Macmillan, October 13, 1952. Ibid. de Kiewiet to Joseph W. Willetts, June 16, 1952. Ibid. de Kiewiet to Raymond N. Ball, February 24, 1953. Ibid. President's Report, June 20, 1953. de Kiewiet, "The Necessary Price of Leadership," Educational Record, XXXIX (1958), 235-245.
  13. Cornelis W. de Kiewiet to Trustees, August 28, 1953. de Kiewiet Papers. de Kiewiet, The Educational Record, XXXIX (1958), 242.
  14. Trustee Records, November 3, 1951. RAR, XIII (1951), no. 1, 3-4. Ibid., no. 2, 5-6.
  15. Executive Committee Minutes, January 27, 30, 1954. R T-U, March 5, 1954.
  16. RAR, XIII {1952), no. 4, 20-21. Ibid., XIV (1953), no. 2, 6-7.
  17. Campus-Times, III, October 4, 1957.
  18. Trustee Records, September 26, 1953. President's Cabinet Minutes, January 4, 1954. de Kiewiet Papers.
  19. Howard R. Anderson to Cornelis W. de Kiewiet, January 16, 1953. de Kiewiet Papers.
  20. R T-U, April 25, 1967.
  21. R D&C, May 14, 1957. Campus-Times, September 19, 1961. R T-U, January 25, 1968 (Hazlett).