Light on the Hill, Volume II

Miller, Russell


THE PRESIDENT INDICATED to the trustees in the summer of 1975 his intention to resign, effective at the end of the 1975-76 academic year. Like Wessell a decade earlier, Hallowell felt that the time had come to place the presidency in other hands. No particular crisis had apparently prompted his decision. He informed the trustees that he


would not serve as a "lame duck," and they immediately cited him for "an outstanding performance as President in tumultous and difficult times." He explained that he had given the matter much thought and that his decision was "irrevocable." He submitted his formal letter of resignation at a special trustee meeting on 1 November 1975. Trustee Chairman McFarlane was designated as chairman of a search and selection committee and a special resolution of appreciation for Hallowell's nine-year presidency was adopted. He resigned as a Life Trustee, a position to which he had been elected in 1967. After his departure from Tufts he entered the business world in Boston and served on the boards of numerous corporations. Like Wessell, he was elected President Emeritus of Tufts in February 1977. Both Hallowell and his wife Pauline ("Polly") were recognized by the university for their many contributions. They. each received Distinguished Service Awards from the Alumni Association in 1976 and the same year the outgoing president received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. In the citation the chairman of the board of trustees paid tribute to Hallowell's courage and wisdom in a period "of great social changes and shifting national priorities" and commended him for his "abiding concern for others, and ... gentle good humor" which had helped immensely in piloting the university through one of the most uncertain and tumultous periods in its history.

A number of problems which Hallowell had faced had not been known, or were known only partially to the Tufts community during his presidency. And a number of his many significant accomplishments on behalf of the university had gone largely unrecognized or unappreciated until after his presidency was over and some perspective could be gained on a tenure just short of a decade. Almost from the day of his arrival he and the institution had been faced with controversies and confrontations associated with the student upheavals of the 1960s which ranged from demands for a larger share in the governance of the institution to a series of crises over the hiring of minority workers on a dormitory construction project, from a widely advertised drug raid to the interruption of normal academic work by a partial strike protesting the invasion of Cambodia. He was subjected not only to numerous student demands but to all of the divergent pressures of faculty, alumni, and of the communities with which Tufts was associated. Numerous complaints from parents that Hallowell was being "too easy" on rebellious students and "caving in" to their "silly demands" were unfailingly met with courteous and thoughtful individual written responses to the aggrieved parties.


There were tradition-minded faculties who were unwilling to change the organizational status quo and accept their portion of responsibility for carrying out a policy of shared authority which Hallowell attempted to encourage. He encountered schools, divisions, colleges, and departments which feared the possible loss of their jealously guarded autonomy. They were less than eager to join forces in creating the coherent and articulated university structure which he sought. He found the attempt to bring together the disparate parts of a relatively small but complex educational system a most frustrating experience. In one of the few times that he came close to losing his patience, he complained that "each school writes its own ticket, with comparatively little thought to working with the strengths of the other schools." He faced the complicated and sometimes delicate problem of working out an effective and harmonious relationship with the New England Medical Center Hospitals, clinical facilities essential to the Tufts School of Medicine. There were serious monetary problems to be solved, including the awesome task of maintaining the financial integrity of the institution during a period of bewildering and uncertain economic cross-currents. Yet throughout those days of tension and turmoil Hallowell kept his focus on the broad educational goals to which he and Tufts were committed and to which he had devoted much of his inaugural address in 1967. In it he had emphasized the education of the whole person in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex society. He insisted on stressing Tufts' primary and historic mission of providing undergraduate education as its "central spirit and thrust." He encouraged educational innovation and experimentation, urged and promoted interdepartmental and interdisciplinary cooperation, and stressed the need for more than narrow and extreme specialization at every level.

One of his most notable accomplishments was, as pointed out by the trustees, employing "financial and economic wizardry" to perform the remarkable feat of turning, in a very short time, an operating deficit exceeding one million dollars into a modest surplus — a tribute to Hallowell's economic leadership recognized by a feature article in the in 1972. One of Hallowell's contributions to Tufts was the creation that same year of the Silvanus Packard Society, named for the institution's largest early benefactor. The president sought by this means both to strengthen the financial resources of the university and to organize and develop "a leadership group of men and women — alumni, parents, and friends . . . who are dedicated to its ideals and objectives [and] whose philanthropic support


would be a motivating force for good." Three categories of membership were established: one for those making annual contributions of $500, another for those contributing $1,000 a year, and life membership which required a one-time $25,000 contribution. The society was formally launched in January 1973 at a dinner attended by approximately 150 individuals. A plaque bearing the names of that number of donors, including thirty lifetime members, was installed in a prominent location in Wessell Library in September 1973; two years later the membership had risen to 200.

Throughout his tenure at Tufts, Hallowell worked closely with John W. Sheetz, whom he had brought to the campus in 1968 as Vice-President of Resources (Development), succeeding Frank A. Tredennick. It was due largely to the efforts of the president and his vice-president that the outgoing president was able to report in 1976 that "private financial support of Tufts University during the last nine years totalled $35.3 million, more than three times the amount raised during any similar period in the University's history." Hallowell's contributions to higher education extended beyond the confines of the Tufts campus. As president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) in 1972 he converted a state organization "from a loose association of institutions into a powerful and effective voice for private higher education." After he had resigned from the Tufts presidency Hallowell summarized the principal challenges which he believed had confronted him: "establishing sound finances, reorganizing our relationships with hospitals, dealing with students in disruption, meeting the requirements of government . . . and protecting the interests of the independent college." In all of them he was successful to a marked degree as a chief executive officer and academic leader. His thoughtful and reasoned approach to problems was not always sufficiently appreciated in the frenetic atmosphere in which he carried on his duties. It sorely tested his patience and forbearance as he was confronted on many sides. In many ways he was a victim of circumstances over which he had little or no control. Yet when he departed from Tufts in 1976 after nine years of service, he left for his successor an institution with a balanced budget and one which had weathered the storms of the tumultuous 1960s and early 1970s with far fewer scars than those of many other educational institutions.

  • Light on the Hill, the second volume of the history of Tufts University, was published in 1986, covering the years from 1952 to 1986. This doucument was created from the 1986 edition of Light on the Hill, Volume II.
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 Title Page
1. Setting the Stage for the Second Century
2. Long-Range Planning
3. Bricks and Mortar 1952-1967
4. The End of Theological Education at Tufts
5. Ever-Widening Curricula for Liberal Arts and Engineering
6. Jackson College: A Search for Identity
7. Defining the Role of the College of Special Studies
8. The Arts and Sciences Faculty I
9. The Arts and Sciences Faculty II
10. The Central Library
11. The Changing Character of the Student Body
12. Fraternities and Sororities at Tufts: A Cyclical History
13. A Beehive of Activity: From Trustees to Students
14. From Wessell to Hallowell
15. The Hallowell Administration: Years of Trial and Tribulation
16. The Hallowell Administration: Continued Trial and Tribulation
17. Educational Ventures, Successful and Otherwise
18. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
19. Medical and Dental Education I
20. Medical and Dental Education II
21. Taking Stock of the University in the 1960s and 1970s
22. The Mayer Administration: A Preliminary View
23. The Mayer Administration: Consolidation and Expansion