Julian Gibbs

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Julian Howard Gibbs (June 24, 1924 – February 20, 1983) was an American educator and the fifteenth President of Amherst College.

Gibbs graduated from Amherst College in 1947. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in 1949 and 1950 from Princeton University. After a year of postdoctoral study at Cambridge University in England with a Fulbright Fellowship, he briefly taught at the University of Minnesota. Gibbs then worked for eight years at General Electric Company and American Viscose Corporation before accepting a position at Brown University in 1960 as associate professor of chemistry. He was named a full professor in 1963 and served as the chairman of the Chemistry Department at Brown from 1964 to 1972. He succeeded John William Ward in 1979 as President of Amherst College and served as president for five years until his death in 1983. He continued his chemical research while he was president, and in 1967 won the High Polymer Prize of the American Physical Society. The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College holds a collection of his papers.

Academic offices
Preceded by
John William Ward
President of Amherst College
Succeeded by
Peter R. Pouncey

External links[edit]

Excerpts from Dr. Julian Howard Gibbs' obituary per the New York Times, as published 21 February 1983, as originally authored by Robert D. McFadden:

"Julian Howard Gibbs was born in Greenfield, Mass., on June 24, 1924, the son of the founder of the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Mass. He grew up in Albany and attended the Albany Academy. He entered Amherst as a student in 1942, but his education was interrupted for Navy service in World War II and he graduated in 1947... He obtained a doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University in 1950, studied at Cambridge University in England under a Fulbright Fellowship, taught for a year at the University of Minnesota and then spent eight years in private industry, working with the General Electric Central Research Laboratory in Schenectady, N.Y., and the American Vicose Corporation in Pennsylvania until 1960.

"Dr. Gibbs was the 15th president of Amherst, a 162-year-old private college in western Massachusetts with 1,500 students and a $114 million endowment. In a tenure of less than four years, Dr. Gibbs completed the school's transition to coeducation, broadened curriculums, strengthened a commitment to research, initiated a $42 million fund-raising campaign and began a $3.1 million mathematics and computer science center. In nonacademic areas, Dr. Gibbs ordered Amherst fraternities to accept women. The transition to coeducation began in 1975. He also continued his own research in statistical mechanics, applying statistical methods to his study of the structure and properties of solids, liquids and gases. The author of many articles in scholarly journals and the editor of several professional journals, Dr. Gibbs was well known for his work in physical chemistry, which was supported for two decades by the National Institutes of Health. In 1967, he won the High Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society. The prize, which is the society's top award in its field, was given to Dr. Gibbs for his research into how the basic chemistry of large molecules determines their shapes and how, in turn, those shapes influence the structure and function of large molecules, according to Prof. Richard Fink, chairman of Amherst's chemistry department.

"Before succeeding John W. Ward as president of Amherst in July 1979, Dr. Gibbs taught for 20 years at Brown University in Providence, R.I., where he was chairman of the chemistry department."