Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Burden, Harry Poole, 1890-1972
|Harry Poole Burden (1890-1972), H1953, former dean of the School of Engineering (1936-1957) was a friend to undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and alumni, fostering a connections between the studies of science and the humanities. He helped develop and raise funds for the engineering curriculum and was also himself a benefactor of the university.|
Burden was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on February 25, 1890. He attended public schools in Lynn and the University of Maine, graduating in 1912. In 1913, he joined the Tufts faculty as an instructor in Civil Engineering, beginning an almost sixty-year long career at the institution, and in 1917, introduced a five-year combined degree program between the schools of engineering and liberal arts. While working at Tufts, Burden also obtained masters degree in municipal and sanitary engineering from Harvard University, in 1928.
Moving through the academic ranks, Burden became a full professor in 1930, and was appointed dean of the School of Engineering in 1936.During this time, he was a pioneer in warning of the coming problems of water pollution and urban transportation. He also began interviewing students for admission following his appointment, which he continued to do until his retirement. In 1953, Tufts conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering on Burden, followed four years later by a student honor of having the yearbook dedicated to him. The inscription included the words "His aim has always been to avoid letting his students graduate understanding their science but not themselves."Following his retirement in 1957, he was made Dean Emeritus.
Following the death of his wife, Lunetta, in 1961, Burden lived alone at Start House, 17 Latin Way, until 1968, when he moved to his final home at 162 Curtis Street. He suffered a stroke in 1967, from which he recovered, and was able to make his last appearance on campus at the Civil Engineering's Alumni Dinner in May 1971.Burden was a member of several national engineering societies, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi. Burden died at his home on October 29, 1972. He was survived by his son, Robert, A1939.
Burden Lounge, located in Anderson Hall, was given in his honor by the Class of 1926, at their thirty-fifth reunion.
Source: 100H; VF