Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


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

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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