Robert Purcell

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Robert W. Purcell (1912–1991) was an American businessman and philanthropist, having served as financial advisor to the Rockefeller Family from 1955 to 1979 and as chairman of Cornell University from 1968 to 1978.[1] During his tenure as Chair, two different Presidents, James A. Perkins and Dale Corson, resigned. However, his tenure as Chair also marked expanded minority enrollment, the founding of the Africana Studies and Research Center, and adding five student members to the Board of Trustees. Purcell also served on a number of corporate boards and had a noted role in Bendix Corporation's 1982 attempt to acquire Martin Marietta.[2]

Purcell was born in Watertown, New York in 1912.[1] He graduated from Cornell University in 1932, being elected during his last year into the Sphinx Head Society. Purcell then graduated from the Cornell Law School in 1935.


  1. ^ a b Viewed September 19, 2006.
  2. ^ Cunningham, Mary (May 1984). Powerplay: What Really Happened at Bendix. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-47563-0. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Arthur H. Dean
Chairman of Cornell Board of Trustees
Succeeded by
Jansen Noyes, Jr.