Hamilton Holt with a copy of The Independent
|President of Rollins College|
August 18, 1872|
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 26, 1951
He was an outspoken advocate for reform, prohibition, immigrant rights, and international peace. In 1906 he published a collection of immigrants' life stories as The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans as Told by Themselves.
In 1909 Holt was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
He served on the executive committee of the League to Enforce Peace and was the first Executive Director of the endowment fund of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, established to support individuals and groups working to advance the cause of international peace.
President of Rollins College
In 1925, Holt became President of Rollins College and served in that capacity until 1949. His approach to education stresses a cooperative new system called the "Conference Plan" which involved extensive one-on-one interaction between professor and student. It required the college to limit enrollment and recruit professors who would be effective in their new educational mentoring roles. He also advocated a policy whereby the student body could approve or disapprove of faculty hirings, and inaugurated the Walk of Fame.
Because of Holt's commitment to teaching and learning innovation, he organized a national five-day Rollins Educational Conference in 1931, led by John Dewey, that brought together leaders in non-traditional higher education. Many ideas from the meetings were integrated into the college's Conference Plan and helped establish the college's national reputation as a leading innovative teaching institution.
Holt believed in the value of outstanding role models and brought to campus leaders in their fields including politicians such as presidents Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman; inventor Thomas Edison; business leader J. C. Penney; poet Carl Sandburg; writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings; military leader General Omar Bradley; pioneering social worker Jane Addams of Hull House; jurist William O. Douglas, and actors such as James Cagney and Mary Pickford.
In 1933, the American Association of University Professors investigated several dismissals and forced resignations at Rollins College. It criticized Holt's autocratic style and the lack of security of tenure at the institution. Rollins College was subsequently censured by the AAUP.
The Rollins College evening program is named in his honor as is a street in the city of Winter Park.
- "The Independent". The Independent. Dec 28, 1914. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Seek Fund to Honor Wilson," Washington Post, June 26, 1921, pg. 81.
- Arthur O. Lovejoy; Austin S. Edwards (November 1933). "Academic Freedom and Tenure: Rollins College Report". Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors (1915-1955). 19 (7): 416–439. JSTOR 40218822.
- Mary Seymour. "The Ghosts of Rollins (and Other Skeletons in the Closet)". Rollins.edu.
- Hamilton Holt (1872-1951): Eighth President of Rollins College
- New York Times: "Dr. Hamilton Holt, Educator, 78, Dies," April 27, 1951, accessed January 1, 2011
- Sondra R. Herman, Eleven Against War: Studies in American Internationalist Thought, 1898-1921 (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1969)
- Warren F. Kuehl, Hamilton Holt: Journalist, Internationalist, Educator (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1960)