Ernest A. Paviour

Interviewee: Paviour, Ernest A.
Interviewer: End, Jack
Duration: 35 minutes
Date: 1972


Biographical note:

Ernest Paviour’s commitment to promoting the University of Rochester began even before he graduated in 1910. As a junior, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Interpres, then the yearbook of the men’s campus. After graduating, Paviour spent two years on the staff of the Evening Times newspaper before joining the family insurance business, R.S. Paviour and Sons. His new career did not blunt his passion for publishing. Paviour helped to found the University’s student press club, and became the University’s “unofficial publicist.” In that role, Paviour covered the tenures of University Presidents Rush Rhees, Alan Valentine, and Cornelis de Kiewiet. But Paviour didn’t simply report University happenings—he helped make them possible. An honorary trustee originally elected to the Board of Trustees in 1932, Paviour participated in numerous funding drives, and co-chaired a $ 4 million dollar campaign in support of the merger of the men’s and women’s campuses. In 1950, he chaired the Centennial committee, a fitting post for a man who had witnessed the maturation of the University from a parochial institution to a national research center.

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JE: Mr. Paviour, when you were a student at the University in the early 1900s, who were some of the professors that impressed you the most?

EP: Well, at age eighty-four I still have vivid recollections of the splendid teachers of the period when I attended college, nineteen hundred and six to 1910. There was Joseph Henry Gilmore[1], the author of He Leadeth Me. He taught rhetoric and English. And so did John R. Slater[2]. John R. Slater inspired to me to want to write and to make speeches. Another professor that I have vivid still in my memory was William Carey Morey[3], professor of History and Political Science.  He drew large attendance at his classes. One time, a student continually interrupted him. He finally could stand it no longer, and he said, “Mr. Levis[4], if you want to make a speech, I suggest you go out and hire a hall.” [laughs]

Then there was Clarence King Moore[5] who was a language professor. He once marked a student minus ten. The student complained, asked how could a person get a minus on an examination paper. Fuzzy Moore said, “Well, that’s for the trouble of correcting your paper.” [laughs]

Another greatly admired teacher was Kendrick Shedd[6], professor of German. He was forced to resign by the Board of Trustees because of some alleged socialistic speeches which he made in forums outside the college. He had one of these addresses in a public school – he said that the flag of universal brotherhood was bigger and better than the flag of any individual nation. That, he was simply an advance agent for the United Nations, but the trustees felt he was socialistic and that statement was a reflection on the stars and stripes and “Sheddy,” as he was lovingly called, was forced to resign from the faculty.

Then there was Henry Fairchild. Henry – oh no, Herman LeRoy Fairchild[7]. Then there was Herman LeRoy Fairchild, professor of geology. He’s the man who discovered the underground river in this section. He wrote many books on geological subjects, papers of one kind or another. One could see him sometimes strutting down East Avenue with a rock in each hand. He was a unique character.

Arthur Gale[8] in mathematics was also head of a large class of people. They went to Gale’s classes because they like him, not because they liked mathematics. All these teachers were teachers, not researchers. We didn’t know, really, the meaning of research back in my days in college.

Ryland Kendrick[9] was a professor of art, and also a professor of Greek. I once listened to a lecture of his on the history of art. In the course of the lecture, Professor Kendrick said that the city hall was a blot on the Erie Canal; that the Douglass Monument in front of the New York Central Station should be put in a backyard where no one can see it. And that the chief function of the Chamber of Commerce was to bring tin cans factories to Rochester. [laughs] This aroused the anger of Roland B. Woodward[10], who was then secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. He complained to Rush Rhees. Rush Rhees called me and made it plain that it was not the privilege of a correspondent of – for an evening newspaper, to quote a professor in the classroom. I had written that lecture in the form of an interview and sent it in to the Evening Times[11].

JE: Was there a student newspaper in those days [12]? And, if so, how did it compare to our present Campus Times?

EP: Yes, there was a paper called the Campus, not the weekly Campus Times, and not long ago, I wrote out a comparison of our Campus of October 10, 1919 with an issue of the Campus Times of October four, nineteen hundred and sixty-eight under the heading, “The Coon-Skin Coat Has Gone Too.” [laughs]This article was never published but I would be glad to review it now. And the issue of October four, nineteen hundred and sixty eight, forty-nine years later, the Campus Times had no athletic groups whatever on page one. Its feature article concerns the forthcoming speech of Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther leader, in Strong Auditorium[13]. Dominating the page was a picture of Cleaver. Out of jail again on fifty thousand bail. In the earlier Campus, more than one half of page one was devoted to football. The schedule includes Princeton and Colgate. The choice of handling news is really a thermometer of student temperature. I might go on.

In the early Campus of 1919, in Anderson Hall there was a meeting of the YMCA addressed by President Rush Rhees and Dr. Albert Beaven[14], then pastor of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church and later president of Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. In that article Dr. Beaven said that the three fundamental questions facing the 1919 generation were democracy, justice against might, and humanity against exploitation. A writer in the ’68 paper apparently felt about the same way. He described the work of the Reverend Bennie Brass and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in fighting rats and decayed housing in the inner city[15].

What it amounts to today, that the student now is very much interested in outside civic affairs, while back in 1919, and in the earlier days of 1906 and 1910, campus life completely absorbed the student. He had really no interest in political and outside affairs – social, political, and outside affairs.

JE: You were very active in fundraising campaigns for the University. Do you think it was more difficult then or is it more difficult now to persuade people to contribute to higher education?

EP: Well, I participated in three major fundraising campaigns. They were all successful on reaching the goals. In 1919, we raised a million dollar endowment with much difficulty; the endowment was for the purpose of raising teachers’ salaries[16]. Then in 1924 I was again involved in the publicity of a ten million dollar campaign. George Todd[17], close friend of George Eastman, had suggested the removal of the men’s college to the River Campus site between Genesee River and the Mount Hope Cemetery then occupied by the Oak Hill Country Club. Ten million was raised under the slogan, “Dad! Give for me! A Greater University for a Greater Rochester.”[18]

Then, the third campaign was in nineteen hundred and fifty three, another ten million dollar effort[19]. De Kiewiet[20] was then President of the University and he took the position that the University could no longer bear the excessive cost of two separate colleges, a college for women and a college for men. The purpose of this campaign was to remove the women to River Campus, Oak Hill site. Many said at that time de Kiewiet wanted to send Prince Street’s princesses up the river.

That campaign was a very difficult one. Three different people who were principals in it were taken ill and had to retire from the organization efforts of the campaign. One was Joseph R. Wilson[21], the other was Dr. Albert Kaiser[22], and the third was Donald Gilbert[23]. Two of these men eventually died of heart attacks. Because of the dearth of leadership, I finally – I agreed to take over the chairmanship of the campaign to succeed Dr. Albert Kaiser, who was ill.  No one else wanted it but they put the pressure on me to take it over. We – at that time we had an outside money-raising campaigner there. We were in constant friction with him on ideas of how to raise the money and all the elements of the campaign. We didn’t agree very much. But we did finally succeed in getting together the ten million dollars and of course we know that the women were moved over to the River Campus[24].

Well, I really do think that it would be more difficult to raise ten million now than back in the days of those two ten million campaigns. There’s no question about it. The so-called “establishment” has a certain hostility against some of the campuses because of student unrest. ‘Course Rochester has been more or less free of that situation but it has to participate to somewhat in the national feeling against the giving to colleges on the part of some of the wealthy givers of the past.

I really think that this situation on the American campuses started improving; will continue to improve. I think one of the jobs of the – get off the campus the students who are not attending for the purpose of getting an education at all. I’m sure that all of the universities and colleges do have numbers of those people. They’re either there just to pass the time away or they’re there to create a disturbance. And there again Rochester – because otherwise the leadership hasn’t had the numbers that other institutions have had of that character. And pretty soon I think the protestors will take the place of those that are protesting against the [leadership of industry and that ought to change the situation somewhat.

JE: I think it was in 1923 a group of Rochesterians proposed putting the Eastman Theatre and the Eastman School of Music on the tax rolls of the city. What were the circumstances surrounding this episode?

EP: Well, George Eastman at that time had begun to give money to the University. At the outset he told Rush Rhees he was not interested in higher education at all. He wasn’t interested in giving money to a Baptist institution. He had previously told . . . his attorney, Walter S. Hubbell[25], who was also a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Rochester and a teacher of a large Bible class in a local church, that he wasn’t interested in the education of Baptist ministers.

But it was Dr. Rhees, of course, that started the U of R on the road to greatness. The development – the education of George Eastman by Rush Rhees is one of the epics of higher education.  Rhees first approached Eastman for a small – relatively small gift in about nineteen hundred two for the establishment of a science school on the Prince Street-University Avenue Campus. Eastman refused at first; then he finally came around and gave some money for the building because “Dr. Rhees didn’t bother me.” And later, then other gifts started.

Of course, the Medical School came to a head just before nineteen hundred and twenty. The General Education Board – the Rockefeller Board approached Eastman and Rhees with the idea of organizing a new type of medical school in this area[26]. For that enterprise Eastman gave four million, the General Education Board gave five million, and the two daughters of Henry A. Strong, the first president of Eastman Kodak, threw in a million dollars for the hospital section[27]. In those days you could get a hospital room for four dollars and fifty cents. And also, bear this in mind: the hospital was built back in the early twenties for one million dollars. The present hospital under construction is going to cost more than sixty million dollars[28].

Then, prior to the Medical School, Eastman had also decided that he wanted to see a music school established in Rochester.[29] He was going to put up the entire bill for that school and theater. And both of the music school and the hospital and medical school, he spent an endless amount of time with the architects and working out details. He was very much interested in the building plan of both these big schools.

Well, then in – soon after the opening of the Eastman School of Music and Theatre in 1922 . . . Julius Hoesterey, Jr.,[30] President of the Lithographers Union, James L. Brewer[31], a liberal attorney, decided they were going to test in the courts the tax-exemption of the Eastman Theatre[32]. When that news broke on the newspapers, Eastman was infuriated. I received a call from Dr. Rhees to meet him over in his home of that time, the old Seelye House[33] at the corner of University Avenue and Prince Street. When I arrived, George Eastman was prancing around the big reception room with his fists clenched. He said, “If that theater’s taxed I am going down with hammer and nails and closing the door myself.”[34]

After a long discussion, we decided to work out a publicity campaign and enlist the support of Frank Gannett[35], publisher of the Union newspaper[36]. The first step that I took was to write a ringing editorial denouncing the proposed taxation and describing Eastman’s efforts to make Rochester the musical center of the world and he would with the best pictures and the best music[37]. At the same time I wrote twelve letters to the editor supporting the editorial. I called on my friends to give authenticity to these by lending the use of their name. Then I started, after the editorial was run, I fed in the letters to the editors supporting the editorial, and that brought in other letters[38]. And pretty soon the other newspapers also came to the defense of Eastman Theatre and the big musical enterprise. And finally the Central Trades organization repudiated the whole effort of Hoesterey and Brewer’s “tax the theater.”[39] The theater wasn’t taxed until Paramount-Publix, leased it . . . 1929[40].

After the excitement subsided somewhat, Frank Gannett called me up and congratulated me on the editorial. He said, “I have written many an editorial for the Times-Union but I never got the response that you obtained on this one of yours that I ran.” But I didn’t tell him I furnished my own applause, though. [laughs] And a short time later, he offered me a position on one of his newspapers[41].

JE: Well, what do you think of the present proposal to put certain buildings on the River Campus on the city tax rolls?

EP: Oh yeah. Perhaps they will be taken care of automatically. The University of Rochester seems to be slowly acquiring all the fraternity houses for direct University purposes. I believe that where most of the criticism arose over taxation of fraternity houses. And that’ll be sound all right. Well, I really believe that if a non-profit educational or any other kind of non-profit organizations owns certain companies that are operated for profit, well then those companies operated for profit ought to be taxed. I think that has been brought up in New York City and some other parts of the country where universities actually own profit-making businesses. We don’t have that situation here at all.

JE: You’ve been active in publicity and advertising all of your adult life. What is your opinion of the value of a public relations department in a university?

EP: Well, when I left college in 1910, I first had this job as a newspaper reporter. Even after I left the newspaper business for the insurance agency of my father, I still was called upon to run many publicity campaigns and write publicity for various organizations. One of those organizations was the University of Rochester[42]. Well I had a hard time convincing Rush Rhees that publicity wasn’t dangerous. He really feared publicity.

And that was true also of the medical people. When the Medical School and hospital opened, I was writing articles there, but apparently Dr. McCann[43] or Dr. Whipple[44] didn’t like one of them. I don’t know which one it was. But anyway, they called me down to the University Club at a luncheon meeting and told me – I think they thought the best publicity for a medical school and hospital was no publicity. And they read some paragraph from the Monroe Medical Society booklet about publicity not being proper for hospitals and medical schools.

Well, it wasn’t until 1919[45] when Raymond Ball[46] became the first Alumni Secretary of the University that we really got started to operate. Rush Rhees, he was a hundred percent for sometimes a concerted publicity action. But we made some ground, but still Dr. Rhees was skeptical of publicity. And . . . I was the unofficial, unpaid publicity writer – in those days we called them “publicity agents”; we didn’t have any high-sounding names –for the University up to the time Alan Valentine[47] became President in nineteen hundred and thirty-five.

Rhees was president for thirty-five years from 1900 to nineteen hundred and thirty five, then Alan Valentine followed for fifteen years, then de Kiewiet for another ten years.

During the office of Alan Valentine, he decided that the University needed publicity. He had an entire office of news out of Dr. Rhees and the Medical School people, and he set up the first University News Bureau under Armin Bender[48]. Bender did a good job in those early days. But at least we had both the Presidents of the University be publicized.

It’s absolutely essential to have news handled by a bureau or by some committee or by some organization in order to get the – create the proper atmosphere. You don’t have to always be complimentary to the institution either; you can give them news occasionally and some of it might be slight reflection, on the institution. I believe in being honest in publicity and telling the story; I’m sure if you use too much puffing and glorification that the desk doesn’t respect you, but you can get the compliments of the newspaper by playing the game well. Of course, it was a lot easier to get news stories in the newspapers back in my days anyway; you couldn’t possibly get away with what we did in those days. Now there’s no shortage of local news apparently at all, and a lot of stories that they played up in one- or two-column headlines when I was handling publicity would have a paragraph and a lot of miscellany today. The whole handling of college news is entirely different than it used to be.

JE: What are your impressions of the several Presidents who were here during your long association with the University?

EP: Well, I worked with the three of them: Rush Rhees and Alan Valentine and de Kiewiet now. The glamorous days were those with Alan Valentine, I think. I enjoyed when I worked at that time the most. Of course, he was the wartime President of the University of Rochester. The students from fifty-two colleges were being trained for the Marines and Navy on the U of R campus[49].  That was why we were able to beat Yale University at football in the Yale Bowl. We had some good athletes from other colleges[50]. [laughs]

But also, it was exciting days when the University of Rochester participated in the Manhattan Project, which was the project that you know for the atomic bomb. We had a big part, an important part in that. Then later our scientists, some of our scientists were – went over to the Bikini bomb[51].

All these things were interesting. And then also, Alan Valentine, aside from starting a news bureau, he also inaugurated the Rochester Prize Scholarships[52]; he made some of the best appointments, I think, of any President, staff appointments. He made the U of R a national institution. He got national publicity; his own speeches were typed at the Press Association picked up. He had a sense of publicity that many others didn’t have. His articles were widely quoted.

And then his commencements were really glamorous. There’s no question about it. He brought to Rochester distinguished people that we don’t do anymore. That included people like Walter Lippmann[53], Stanley King[54], George Washington Carver[55], Cornelia Otis Skinner[56], Douglas Freeman[57], Branch Rickey[58], Ralph J. Bunche[59] – I guess that’s B-U-N-C-H-E, Ralph Bunche, I guess you pronounce it – Anne Morrow Lindbergh[60]. And then he gave an honorary degree to Winston Churchill in nineteen hundred and forty-one by trans-Atlantic telephone[61], which attracted worldwide attention. He really publicized U of R far and wide. And Walter Lippmann, I remember his commencement address. It was simply the reading of the column that he was going to use the next day in his syndicated work. He was a syndicated news columnist and he just read a column that was going to be syndicated all over the country the next day as his speech at the U of R commencement[62].

But these – all these distinguished people that he brought – I only named a few of them – attracted publicity. They all had publicity value and U of R really had – became better and better known under Alan Valentine.

But both Alan Valentine and de Kiewiet didn’t always get along with the trustees. That’s a funny thing. Here Rush Rhees, the publicity-shy President, had the best public relations in the three of them. No question about it. He got along better with the student body, with the faculty, with the trustees, with the alumni, and with the outside public. He got along better than either Alan Valentine or Cornelis de Kiewiet. And yet he was publicity-shy.

Alan Valentine, then, his kind of – well, put it this way: Rush Rhees put the University in the big time, started on this . . . path of glory, you might say, with the help of George Eastman. And Alan Valentine really made the University a national institution, and Dick de Kiewiet, big function was the graduate work.[63] He emphasized graduate work and got us started in graduate work, which is very, very important today in any institution.

Also de Kiewiet and the ten million dollar campaign, which was successful. It did make the important contribution of cutting down our duplication costs of two separate colleges, one for women and one for men. And that was essential but there again, a very important trustee resigned at that time because he didn’t agree with the removal of the women to College for Men.

It’s interesting to note, though, after Rush Rh – after George Eastman – he first said he wasn’t interested in higher education and then he said he wasn’t interested in a college turning out Baptist ministers and the education of Baptist ministers. And he finally said he’d give money to U of R under the influence of Rush Rhees until he’d given over fifty million dollars to the U of R and large sums to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology[64] and sums to two Southern Negro colleges.[65] And he ended up by saying that “Progress of the world depends upon education.” Fortunately, the most prominent institutions of man are educational. They frequently endure even when governments fall.[66] That gives an idea of the change in the Eastman philosophy over a period of years from the time Rush Rhees first met him.

As a matter of fact I sent out a news article, an interview with Rush Rhees; finally, he consented to give me an interview two years before he died[67]. I was after him for many years to tell me the relationship of Rhees and Eastman. He finally did it. He gave me a long interview and his only restriction was he wanted to see the proof piece before I used them in any way. And I sent him, when he was done with his Maine summer home that year, a copy of the report of his interview. He made very, very – few changes. The three press associations picked this up. They also sent it out to leading newspapers and it provoked comment all over America. The New York Times used a column and three quarters of this interview with Rush Rhees on the development, you might say, of George Eastman.[68]

JE: What do you think the future of the University is going to be like?

EP: You’re talking about the University of Rochester. I had an idea that the arts college might have substantial changes. Of course, the University of Rochester has these two great world-famous schools of music and schools of medicine, and also it has widely recognized scientific laboratories, and splendid research projects. Those things will undoubtedly keep going on, but I’m wondering if the liberal arts college isn’t going to have some substantial changes. All over, not only in Rochester, everywhere – well, it may be that the liberal arts college will be reduced from four years to three years.

And this is my idea on that. When I was in college, the parents of most of the college students were only high school graduates or high school dropouts. Today the parents of the college students are generally college graduates. And the student grows up with the idea that he’s going to college. He has the college urge, it’s almost hereditary. And also the methods of teaching have changed. They’re so much improved. There’s no question about it: the college student today can learn faster. The result may be that you get the four years in three years in the future. I think that’s a real possibility.

And also, I think more and more people are, because of the high cost of education, are going to be satisfied with two years in a junior college or a community college. Those may grow faster than liberal arts colleges. I’m sure that the liberal art – the small liberal arts college will have a very tough time; it is already. It will continue to have a tough time. It’ll be in the same class as the corner grocer or the corner drugstore. It perhaps can’t survive.

But U of R is quite different – the school of – the various schools and the other features that I just mentioned.

JE: Thank you, Mr. Paviour.

[recording ends]

[1] Joseph Henry Gilmore became professor of rhetoric, logic and English at the University of Rochester, a position he held until 1908. Professor Gilmore died in 1918. He authored six books and wrote the hymn, He Leadeth Me, in 1862.

[2] John Rothwell Slater came to the University of Rochester from Chicago in 1905 as an assistant professor of English. In 1908 he became a full professor and head of the English Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1942. Dr. Slater died on June 22, 1965. Slater Residence Hall is named in his memory.

[3] A graduate of the University of Rochester, William Carey Morey returned to the University in 1872, teaching Latin language and literature until 1877. From 1877 to 1883 he was professor of Latin and history, and from 1883 until his retirement in 1920, he taught history and political science. Professor Morey died in 1925. Morey Hall is named in his honor.

[4] May have been either John Herbert Levis (Class of 1909), William Harold Levis, or William Walter Levis (both Class of 1910).

[5] From 1904 to 1906 Clarence King Moore was an assistant professor of romance languages at the University of Rochester, and a full professor from 1906 to 1943. Dr. King retired in 1943, and died on September 18, 1953. 

[6] Kendrick Philander Shedd was a member of the Class of 1889 at the University of Rochester. In 1890 he was an instructor of modern languages at the University, and became professor of German in 1906. In 1912 he was forced to leave the University because of a speech he made in which he voiced his support of socialism.

[7] Herman LeRoy Fairchild was Professor of Geology and Natural History at the University of Rochester from 1888 until his retirement in 1920. He was Professor Emeritus from then until his death in 1943.

[8] Arthur S. Gale. A prize in the mathematics department is given in his honor at the University of Rochester.

[9] Dr. Ryland Kendrick was a member of the Class of 1889. He served as a Professor of Greek at the University from 1891 to 1937. His father, Asahel Clark Kendrick, was a Professor of Greek at the University at the time of its founding in 1850. The Kendrick Family Papers and Addition are available in Special Collections.

[10] Roland B. Woodward was Regent of the University of the State of New York at this time.

[11] From Arthur J. May’s History of the University of Rochester: “Like Shedd, [Ryland Kendrick] caused (1910) an uproar in the city when a student reported to a Rochester newspaper certain of his remarks uttered in the classroom. In Kendrick's view, materialism suffocated beauty in the Flower City, and he poked fun at the architecture of the City Hall and charged that the principal function of the Chamber of Commerce was to bring ‘tin-can factories’ to Rochester. Loud protests ensued; to calm troubled waters, President Rhees sternly rebuked the undergraduate responsible for the press story.” Paviour worked briefly as a reporter for the Rochester Evening Times after graduating from college. (source: January 24, 1990 obituary in the Brighton-Pittsford Post)

[12] The University Record was first published in October 1873. It later became Rochester Campus and then the Campus. When the Colleges for Men and Women combined in 1955, the Campus likewise combined with the women’s newspaper The Tower Times and became the Campus Times.

[13] Eldridge Cleaver addressed students in Strong Auditorium on Thursday, October 10, 1968. His appearance was arranged by the Outside Speakers Committee in cooperation with the New York Peace and Freedom Party.

[14] Dr. Albert Beaven was President of Colgate-Rochester Divinity School from 1929 to 1943. The Campus misspells it as “Beavens.”

[15] According to the article, Reverend Bennie Brass was President of the Rochester chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as a leader in CORE, the NAACP, and the Poor People’s Campaign. He was also a “friend of SNCC” and a Memorial Art Gallery board member. The writer of the article is unidentified.

[16] The Victory Endowment Campaign. According to May’s History: “It was calculated that the income generated would liquidate the debt of the war years, make possible urgently needed improvement in faculty compensation, and finance for some additional professors. Conducted in November of 1919 by forty teams of solicitors, working with alumni, students, and friends of the University, the drive, to which some 2,896 donors responded, yielded the desired sum, George Eastman contributing one tenth of the total.”

[17] George W. Todd was a Rochester industrialist who was highly influential in his support of the University. He declined trusteeship on the grounds that he could better serve the University if he had no official status.

[18] The Greater University Campaign was conducted in 1924 to raise funds for the construction of the new College for Men on the former site of the Oak Hill Country Club. The slogan was “Ten Millions in Ten Days.” The campaign also provided funds for the construction of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Institute of Optics, as well as the renovation of Sibley Music Library. Although large donors were essential – George Eastman personally donated $2.5 million – the Greater University Campaign is notable for the extent to which it involved the entire Rochester community. It has been called the “greatest community project ever undertaken in behalf of higher education." (source:

[19] The University Development Fund, whose goal was $10.7 million.

[20] Dr. Cornelis de Kiewiet was President of the University from 1951 to 1961.

[21] Joseph R. Wilson was a member of the Class of 1903 and father of trustee Joseph C. Wilson of Xerox, Class of 1931.

[22] Dr. Albert D. Kaiser was a member of the Class of 1909 who later became a professor at the University of Rochester Medical School and held several medical positions in the community. He also served on the Board of Trustees until his death in 1955. (source :

[23] Donald W. Gilbert was a member of the Class of 1921 who returned to the University as an economics professor. He was also first President of the Faculty Club, the first person to hold the position of University Provost, and first director of the new Canadian Studies program. He died in 1957. His wife Eleanor Gilbert has done an Oral History Interview.

[24] The merger, as it was called, took place in 1955. Most of the Prince Street Campus buildings were sold. Only Cutler Union remains, now connected to the Memorial Art Gallery via the Van Brul Pavilion, an enclosed sculpture garden built in 1968.

[25] Walter S. Hubbell, Class of 1871, was chief counsel of the Eastman Kodak Company. Hubbell Auditorium is named for him.

[26] Dr. Abraham Flexner, then secretary of the General Education Board founded by John D. Rockefeller, had published a report entitled Medical Education in the United States and Canada in 1910. It has since been recognized as “a landmark in the history of medical training” in America and “a classic in the literature of education.” Flexner charged that four out of every five medical schools were so inadequate that they should be closed, and some subsequently were. He awarded high marks to only five. Flexner argued that medical training should be revolutionized, with medical schools accepting only top-notch facilities and equipment. He also proposed a “full time” plan wherein staff would devote themselves exclusively to instruction and research and be well compensated for it. Although several medical schools in the Northeast reformed their programs according to Flexner’s recommendations, Cornell and Columbia refused, inspiring Flexner to propose establishing an entirely new medical school somewhere in New York State. Syracuse University tried to interest him, but Flexner chose Rochester due to its size, geographic location, and because it had no medical school and therefore presented a clean slate.

[27] George Eastman persuaded Gertrude Strong Achilles and Helen Strong Carter to finance the construction of the hospital in memory of their father, his business partner Henry Alvah Strong, and their mother, Helen Griffin Strong.

[28] According to a promotional booklet, the “new Strong Memorial Hospital is a 698-bed structure replacing all of the present hospital, with the exception of 107 psychiatric beds in Wing R.” It goes on to say that the new hospital is the biggest building in the City of Rochester at 908,000 square feet of usable space. It opened in 1975. The original building is still in use and houses the Edward G. Miner Library.

[29] The Eastman School of Music first enrolled students in 1921 (May, History 1968).

[30] Julius Hoesterey, Jr. (b. 1887) was employed in the lithographing department of E.E. Fairchild Corporation. He was President of the Lithographers Union from 1915 to 1926. In 1920 he established Rochester’s first labor college, whose faculty included UR’s Dr. Dexter Perkins. (source:
Hoesterey was elected to City Council in 1933 on the Democrat ticket. Paviour states that Eastman’s opinion of him mellowed considerably in later years. (source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre” by E.A. Paviour for the Brighton-Pittsford Post, March 27, 1969)

[31] Information on Brewer is hard to come by, but he and Hoestery had previously organized the Farmer-Labor Party, on whose ticket Hoestery ran for city mayor in 1920. (source:

[32] Hoesterey and Brewer’s proposal was to review the Eastman School’s tax exemption and asses the property to produce a tax of $50,000. (source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre”)

[33] The Seelye House, formerly located at 440 University Avenue, had served as the residence of both President Martin Brewer Anderson and his successor, Dr. Rush Rhees. George Eastman, however, willed his house on East Avenue to the University, and President and Mrs. Rhees subsequently moved there after his death in 1932. Rhees’s successor Dr. Alan Valentine also lived at the Eastman House. The house at 440 University, meanwhile, was renamed the Seelye House after Rhees’s wife, Harriet Seelye Rhees, and served as a women’s dormitory until the Prince Street Campus closed in 1955.

[34] Paviour claimed to have seen George Eastman get angry two other times in their acquaintanceship in addition to the tax exemption incident. One time was in 1922, when Hearst (Gannett’s rival) tried to gain a foothold in the Rochester market. Eastman was alarmed by a rumor that Hearst was planning a campaign of yellow journalism that would threaten “our placid city.” The other time was when Edward Hungerford, a well-known writer hired by UR to publicize the Greater University Campaign, failed to show Eastman proofs of an article about Kodak advertising and subsequently misattributed a popular slogan.  (source: “When George Eastman Got Angry, Brighton-Pittsford Post, Feb. 18, 1965)

[35] Frank E. Gannett (1876-1957) was a local media mogul who founded Gannett Company, Inc. The Company still owns and publishes the Democrat and Chronicle, which Gannett purchased in 1928. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery. (source: Wikipedia)

[36] The Rochester Times-Union, which Gannett created by merging rival papers Union and Advertiser and the Times in 1918. The Times-Union ceased publication in 1997. (source: Wikipedia)

[37] According to Paviour:

We planned that afternoon a publicity campaign to reemphasize the cultural and business advantages of the theatre-school to the community. It had even raised property values in the old area. When launched, the theatre was described as the laboratory of the music school, as a hospital is the laboratory of a medical school. The best pictures (silent) were to be wedded to the best music. Students would have the opportunity to study and perform opera and symphony concerts.

As a matter of fact the 60-piece orchestra of the theatre cost $225,000 a year to maintain and a tax of $1,000 a week would have put the whole operation in the red – even with its average weekly attendance of over 40,000.

(source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre”)

[38] Paviour goes on:

Letters to the editor supporting “no taxation” flowed to the papers in great volume, despite attorney Brewer’s declaration that the school-theatre was a “hobby of Mr. Eastman and not an outstanding educational project

(source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre”)

[39] The Central Trades and Labor Council declared that the “Eastman School of Music is an educational institution and should not be considered taxable property under the law.” (source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre”)

[40] The rise of “talkies” ruined Eastman’s original idea of having live orchestras play along to silent films. The Eastman Theatre was leased to Publix Theatre Corporation in 1929, along with the Regent and Piccadilly, which the University also owned. The Eastman Theatre regained its tax-exempt status later, when Paramount-Publix quit. (source: “When City Sought To Tax Eastman Theatre”)

[41] Gannett offered Paviour the job of publisher of the Democrat and Chronicle but Paviour turned it down. He had previously defeated Gannett in the 1920 race for President of the Rochester Ad Club. (source: RAC newsletter “The Bumblebee,” June 15, 1978)

[42] Paviour also did publicity work for the YMCA’s $750,000 drive in 1913 (he later became President of the YMCA) and the Liberty Loan campaigns, the Food Administration, the Fuel Administration, and numerous other organizations during World War I. He also served as chairman of publicity for the Community Chest, the predecessor of the United Way of Greater Rochester. He joined the Rochester Ad Club 1911 and remained a member for over seventy years. (source: “The Bumblebee”) The  bulk of his publicity work, however, was for the University of Rochester.

[43] Dr. William S. McCann arrived at the brand-new Medical Center as a professor of internal medicine. He requested that his picture not be printed in the local newspapers, recalling Oliver Wendell Holmes’s quip that “people like their doctors moldy like their cheese.” In 1928 he became the first Charles A. Dewey Professor of Medicine.

[44] Dr. George Whipple was appointed Dean of the University of Rochester Medical Center in 1921. He won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1934 for a discovery that led to successful treatment of pernicious anemia, which was previously fatal.

[45] The University of Rochester Medical Center actually opened six years later in 1925.

[46] Raymond N. Ball was a member of the Class of 1914. His long career at UR included duties as Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

[47] President of the University of Rochester 1935-1950.

[48] Armin Bender was a member of the Class of 1933. The University News Bureau’s early efforts included short radio programs, usually containing an interview, that concluded with the sound of the Hopeman Chimes. Charles F. Cole, Class of 1925, succeeded Bender when the latter left to join the Navy during World War II.

[49] The V-12 unit arrived on campus in 1943. Its official aim was to provide preliminary training for officers; it had the additional benefit of ensuring the survival of the men’s college during the war.

[50] From May’s History of the University: “Not only did the Navy authorities approve intercollegiate athletics, they strongly encouraged them. Several outstanding players, who came to the University from other institutions, enabled the football team of 1943 to compile a record of six victories, including Yale and Colgate on their home grounds, as against a single defeat – at the hands of the Red Raiders from the Chenango Valley before an unprecedented Rochester audience of 14,000. The stellar performer, George Sutch, gained the distinction of All-East fullback on the Associated Press team; other V-12 luminaries were Paul McKee, Robert Polidor, Roger Robinson, Robert Sauerwein, none of whom remained at the University long enough to be listed as alumni. Coach Dudley DeGroot, who resigned (1944) after four remarkable seasons to enter professional football, was elected to honorary membership in the U. of R. alumni body; to replace him an experienced and successful coach at Purdue University, Elmer H. Burnham, was chosen and he presided over varsity football destinies until retirement in 1961. In his first season the Rochester eleven was hailed as the mythical champion of New York State colleges, but the New Haven Bulldogs, winning by a lop-sided margin, discovered that the Yellowjackets had lost their sharp sting.”

[51] From “The University of Rochester: The First One Hundred Years”: “In the war years, then, Rochester, in a sense, came of age. Its place as a great University was confirmed by its choice as the center of research on the medical aspects of the atomic bomb development under the so-called Manhattan Project, continued in time of peace, under the Atomic Energy Commission, and dealing with the study of atomic energy. Rochester men were present at Bikini, with the experimental explosion of the atomic bomb. Rochester men will play an important part, it cannot be doubted, in the portentous developments of the future in the field of science.” (Published by the Rochester Centennial Committee, which was chaired by Ernest Paviour.)

[52] The Rochester Prize Scholarships were created in 1936 to offer full tuition benefits to eligible Rochester residents. The Genesee Scholarship, created four years earlier, offered the same thing to out-of-towners in order to increase the geographic diversity of the student body.

[53] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1936.

[54] Stanley King was the eleventh President of Amherst College from 1923 to 1946. He was present for Valentine’s inauguration in November 1935.

[55] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1941. Carver was not actually able to come to Rochester to receive his honorary degree due to illness, so Valentine flew to Alabama and presented it to him there.

[56] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1942.

[57] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1943.

[58] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1946.

[59] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1950.

[60] Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1939.

[61] Winston Churchill was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws in June 1941. He accepted the degree via live wireless trans-Atlantic radio address. The degree was received physically on his behalf by Noel Hall, British minister to Washington. The Winston Churchill Commencement Materials are available in the University Archives.

[62] Lippmann’s column was called “Today and Tomorrow” and appeared in the New York Herald-Tribune. The title of his speech was “Government and Universities” and it was tailored to fit two columns in the June 16, 1936 Tribune. (source: Rochester Alumni Review, June-July 1936)

[63] Former President Cornelis de Kiewiet speaks at length about his motivation for improving the graduate education available at the University of Rochester in an interview he has provided to the Living History Project.

[64] Eastman donated approximately 20 million dollars to MIT during his lifetime (“About George Eastman.” George Eastman House. 2000-2015.

[65] Eastman gave approximately two million dollars to Hampton University and the Tuskegee Institute (“About George Eastman.” George Eastman House. 2000-2015.

[66] “The progress of the world depends almost entirely on education. I selected a limited number of recipients because I wanted to cover certain kinds of education, and felt I could get results with those named quicker and more directly than if the money were spread.” (1924)

[67] Rush Rhees died in 1939.

[68] Paviour most likely refers to “Eastman Changed View on Education: First Gifts to Rochester, Made Reluctantly, Led to Others of His Own Initiative. Dr. Rhees Reveals Story, President Asked Donations Only Twice, But Total Gifts Exceed $50,000,000.” New York Times 2 Aug. 1936, N8.