Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Capen, Samuel Paul, 1878-1956
Samuel Paul Capen (1878-1956), A1898, son of Tufts president Elmer H. Capen and recipient of the Ballou Medal in 1948, was a life trustee of Tufts.
The son of Tufts president Reverend Elmer H. Capen, Samuel Paul Capen was born in Capen House on Professors Row. He graduated from Tufts in 1898 with both a bachelor and master of arts degree. Capen had been the president of his class, a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, vice-president of the Tufts Publishing Association and assistant football manager as an undergraduate. He received an additional master of arts degree two years later from Harvard, and in 1902, obtained his doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He also spent a years studying abroad at the University of Leipzig. Following his graduation from Harvard, Capen began teaching at Clark College, where he remained for twelve years, rising to the rank of full professor in Romance Languages and lecturer in educational administration. In 1898, he married Grace Duncan Wright, the daughter of Clark's president. They had one daughter, Mary.
From 1914 to 1919, Capen worked as specialist in higher education for the United Stated Bureau of Education. He was named the first director of the American Council on Education in 1919, holding the position until he became chancellor of University of Buffalo in 1922. Capen served as the chancellor of the institution for twenty-eight years, retiring in 1950.In 1931, he was made a life trustee of Tufts College. He had served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, along with holding membership in several other academic boards and societies. Capen died, following a long illness, in Buffalo, New York, on June 22, 1956.