Carl Tolman

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Carl Tolman
Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis
In office
Preceded byEthan A.H. Shepley
Succeeded byThomas H. Eliot
Personal details
Born(1897-05-07)May 7, 1897
Lacombe, Alberta
DiedFebruary 13, 1995(1995-02-13) (aged 97)
Kirkwood, Missouri
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia

Carl Tolman (May 7, 1897 – February 13, 1995)[1] was the chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis from 1961 through 1962.


Carl Tolman was born in 1897 to American parents in the Northwest Territories of Canada and served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I. Serving on the Western Front, he was badly injured, taken prisoner by Germany in 1917, and not repatriated until after the war. When he finally returned home he earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of British Columbia and a master's degree in science and a Ph.D. in geology, both from Yale University. In 1927 as assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis of geology, he was involved in geological explorations, detailed geographical mapping, and mineral deposit explorations with the Geological Survey of Canada. During World War II, he took a leave of absence from Washington University in St. Louis to serve as a mineral specialist with the Foreign Economic Administration in Washington, D.C.

He was associated with Washington University for 68 years, serving as assistant, associate, and full professor of geology, chair of the department, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, vice chancellor–dean of faculties, and chancellor. During his one-year stewardship as chancellor before mandatory retirement, he steered the course through a time of transition and along the way reduced the university's debt from $1.5 million to $30,000.

After retiring from Washington University, he took a position with the U.S. State Department as science attaché to Tokyo and later managed a program to train mining engineers in the Philippines and helped establish a graduate program in economic geology at the University of the Philippines.

He died in St. Louis in 1995 at age 97. Washington University Chancellor William H. Danforth said at the time of Tolman's death, "Carl Tolman was for 68 years one of the great people at Washington University. As a friend, as a faculty member, and as an academic leader, he was always farsighted and wise and kind and gentle."


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