Henry King Stanford

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Henry King Stanford
19th President of the
University of Georgia
In office
Preceded by Frederick Corbet Davison
Succeeded by Charles Boynton Knapp
3rd President of the
University of Miami
In office
Preceded by Jay F. W. Pearson
Succeeded by Edward T. Foote II
President of
Georgia Southwestern College
In office
Personal details
Born (1916-04-22)April 22, 1916
Died January 1, 2009(2009-01-01) (aged 92)
Alma mater Emory University (A.B.)
University of Denver (M.Sc.)
New York University (PhD)
Profession Educator, administrator

Henry King Stanford (April 22, 1916 – January 1, 2009) was President of Georgia Southwestern College (now known as Georgia Southwestern State University), President of Georgia State College for Women (now known as Georgia College & State University), President of Birmingham Southern College, the 3rd President of the University of Miami, and 19th President of the University of Georgia.

Early years and education[edit]

Stanford was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] He received his Bachelor of Arts in history and German from Emory University, a Master of Science in government and management from the University of Denver (where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow), and a PhD in political science and public administration from New York University.[2] He was also the recipient of thirteen honorary doctorates from universities across the world.

Professional career[edit]

Small college presidencies[edit]

From 1948 to 1950, Stanford was President of Georgia Southwestern College, now known as Georgia Southwestern State University, and from 1950 to 1952 he was Director of the University Center in Georgia. The Board of Regents elected Stanford as President of Georgia State College for Women in 1953. Before going to GSCW, Stanford had worked for a year as the Assistant Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Newspaper reports state that he was sent to GSCW by the Board of Regents to deal with GSCW's difficult problems such as the declining enrollment and the movement to make GSCW a coeducational institution.

During his short tenure of three years at GSCW, Stanford managed to raise morale and stop declining enrollment. Herty Hall was also completed during Stanford's tenure. Many of the other buildings on campus, however, continued to suffer. Stanford suggested during his presidency that Chappell Hall be torn down. At the same time, much of Atkinson Hall was abandoned due to the building's poor condition. Despite Stanford's requests for funding, much of the campus remained in disrepair until the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1956 the Board of Regents granted Stanford a leave of absence so that he could serve as Chief of the New York University Mission in Turkey. His original plan was to return to the college in June 1957. Before he left for Turkey, however, he took a position as president of Birmingham Southern College and resigned as president of Georgia State College for Women in the spring of 1956. He was president of Birmingham Southern from 1957 until 1962.[1]

University of Miami[edit]

Stanford was the president of the University of Miami from 1962–1981. He was known as much for his trademark jacket lapel, always accessorized with a fresh and colorful carnation, as for his leadership and personal commitment to the University's students. He would breakfast with student groups every two weeks, and frequently invited student leaders to his home to dialogue with himself and his wife, Ruth King Stanford, over dinner. He often visited the residence halls unannounced to talk with students or spontaneously joined them for lunch. Another notable trademark was his remarkable and uncanny ability to remember years later, the names and circumstances under which he had met students just once. Accordingly, his tenure is also remembered for his ubiquitous campus presence.[2][3]

Stanford's presidency at the University of Miami saw increased emphasis on research, reorganization of administrative structure and construction of new facilities. Among the new research centers established were the Center for Advanced International Studies (1964), the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Evolution (1964), the Center for Theoretical Studies (1965), the James M. Cox, Jr. Science Building, (1967), and the Institute for the Study of Aging (1975).

Stanford led the University through the national turbulence of the 1960s, and guided it through the largest era of growth and expansion in the University’s history. New buildings sprung up as quickly as new programs and degrees. Four 12-story residence halls were among the dozens of new buildings, and reflected the University’s growing enrollment of out-of-state students. One of those residence halls, the Henry King Stanford Residential College today bears his name.[2]

Beginning with 1968 fall football season, the University of Miami, at Stanford's insistence, became one of the first Southern United States institutions to ban the playing of "Dixie" by the University band.[3] To prevent the kind of disruptive and violent demonstrations such as the tragedy at Kent State University, he orchestrated larger roles for students and faculty in university governance and allowed all a greater freedom of choice. Minority rights and representation at all levels of University life also became characteristic of the Stanford presidency. He initiated the tradition of dinners for foreign students at his home, and encouraged diversity throughout the University.

Stanford also led the University through the difficult era of the 1970s, when the entire country was feeling the effects of the prolonged national inflation, and the general discrediting of higher education institutions, since during a time when jobs were scarce, a college degree was no longer an automatic assurance of a successful career and a secure future. It was also during this time that use of the University’s former post-war nickname of “Sun Tan U” ended due to Stanford's efforts. In his honor, the University of Miami has named several awards, scholarships, and endowed chairs, a road way, a residence hall, and other items.[2]

In April 2007, the AMIGOS Board of Directors of the University of Miami’s Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) established the “AMIGOS of the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection Henry King Stanford Award”, named for the third president of UM, and presented the former president with its first award. The award was created to honor those individuals who have “greatly contributed” to the work of the AMIGOS and the CHC.[4]

University of Georgia[edit]

Five years after Stanford's retirement from the University of Miami, he took the position of president of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia on an interim basis, while the Georgia Board of Regents conducted a search for a permanent president. He served from 1986 to 1987.[5]

Stanford served during a period of turmoil. The reputation of the University had been sullied as a result of an unfavorable ruling by a federal jury in a case brought by Jan Kemp, who had asserted that she was unlawfully fired for speaking out against alleged preferential academic treatment for athletes. Stanford was instrumental in moving the University forward and restoring optimism.[1]

Upon his departure from the University of Georgia, the Georgia Board of Regents named him president emeritus of the University of Georgia.[1]

Retirement and death[edit]

Stanford climbed Mount Everest in 1988 at the age of 72.[6] He died at the age of 92 at his home in Americus, Georgia, on New Year's Day, 2009.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Georgia Front Page". January 3, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Named Buildings History.Coral Gables Campus.Prepared: Summer 2001. Updated: Fall 2004". University of Miami. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Bold Beginnings Bright Tomorrows". University of Miami magazine. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ "AMIGOS of the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection Honor President Emeritus Henry King Stanford". June 8, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ "From Ahmedunggar to Lavonia Presidents at the University of Georgia 1785-1997". University of Georgia Libraries, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Emory Magazine Autumn 2011 p. 19
Academic offices
Preceded by
Jay F. W. Pearson
President of the University of Miami
Succeeded by
Tad Foote II
Preceded by
Frederick Corbet Davison
President of the University of Georgia
1987 – 1997
Succeeded by
Charles Boynton Knapp[1]