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Robert Maynard Hutchins
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    (January 17, 1899-May 14, 1977)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Dean of the Yale Law School (1927-29)
    President (1929-45) and Chancellor (1945-51) of the University of Chicago
    Introduced the Chicago Plan encouraging liberal education and avoiding specialization and vocational training
    Chair of the Board of Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (1943-74)
    Founded the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (1959)
    Wrote ‘Higher Learning in America’ (1936), ‘The Education We Need’ (1947), ‘The State of the University, 1929-1949’ (1949), ‘Great Books: The Foundation of a Liberal Education’ (1954), ‘Gateway to the Great Books’ (1963), and ‘Prospects for a Learning Society’ (1972)
    He eliminated Chicago’s football program, claiming it was a distraction from academics.
    He also tried to eliminate fraternities and religious organizations for the same reason.
    His changes scared off donors resulting in a significant financial downturn for Chicago.
    After his departure, the University restored its traditional curriculum.
    One critic said that his tenure at Chicago ‘nicely illustrated the limitations of having a powerful IQ with nothing in the way of subtlety, experience, or humility to go along with it.’
    He joined the US Army ambulance service during World War I.
    He graduated from Yale Law School at the top of his class.
    As Dean of the Yale Law School, he reformed enrollment, so family social status was no longer a primary consideration for admission.
    He became president of the University of Chicago at age 30, making him the youngest university president in the country.
    He was a supporter of academic freedom and opposed loyalty oaths during the Red Scare.
    The American Tailors Guild voted him third on their list of best-dressed men (1949).

Credit: C. Fishel

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