Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Wessell, Nils Yngve, 1914-
|Nils Yngve Wessell (1914- ) served as president of Tufts from 1953 to 1966.He was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 1914 and received his B.S. from Lafeyette College in 1934, his M.S. from Brown University in 1935, and his Ph. D. from the University of Rochester in 1938.He was awarded honorary degrees from Lafeyette College, Lesley College, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Brown University, and Brandeis University. He was the resident psychologist at the Bradley Home in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1936 to 1937.From 1938 to 1939, he served as the director of the Mobile Child Guidance Center at the University of Michigan. He was a professor of psychology at Tufts University from 1939 to 1947.In 1943, he was a lecturer in psychology at Harvard University. Wessell served as the Dean of Liberal Arts at Tufts from 1939 to 1953.From 1951 to 1953, he was the vice president. On January 1, 1953 he became acting president and in October of that year he became president. He resigned in 1966, citing his belief that the office should change every ten to fifteen years. From 1965 to 1968 he served as president of the Institute for Educational Development and from 1968 to 1979 was president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Under Wessell's presidency, Tufts College was renamed Tufts University in 1955.He oversaw the physical expansion of the university's facilities. New dormitories, biology and chemistry laboratories, the Wessell Library, and an engineering building were erected. The Lincoln Filene Center was brought to Tufts and the Experimental College was founded. There was an increase in faculty salaries and endowment.
The Wessell Library on the Medford Campus was named in his honor.
Source: History from the finding aid from the Nils Yngve Wessell collection, UA001.010