Jerome H. Holland

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Jerome H. Holland
United States Ambassador to Sweden
In office
April 14, 1970 – August 30, 1972
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byWilliam Womack Heath
Succeeded byRobert Strausz-Hupé
Ninth President of Hampton University
In office
Preceded byAlonzo G. Moron
Succeeded byRoy D. Savage
President of Delaware State College
In office
Preceded byOscar J. Chapman
Succeeded byLuna I. Mishoe
Personal details
Jerome Heartwell Holland

(1916-01-09)January 9, 1916
Auburn, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 13, 1985(1985-01-13) (aged 69)
New York, New York, U.S.
  • Madeline Smalls
    (m. 1941; div. 1944)
  • Laura Mitchell
    (m. 1948)
Alma materCornell University
University of Pennsylvania
AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom
Football career
Dr Jerome H Holland statue.jpg
Career information
CollegeCornell University

Jerome Heartwell "Brud" Holland (January 9, 1916 – January 13, 1985) was an American university president and diplomat. He was the first African American to play football at Cornell University, and was chosen as an All American in 1937 and 1938. He was also the first African American to chair the American Red Cross Board of Governors, which named its Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences in his honor.[1] He was the first African-American to sit on the board of the New York Stock Exchange (1972), and the first appointed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's governing body, "The Corporation".[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Holland was born January 9, 1916 in Auburn, New York, the fourth child of Robert Jr. and Viola Holland.[5]

Holland attended Auburn High School from 1930 to 1934, where he played football and basketball, lettering in both sports.[5]

After beginning his college studies at the New York College of Agriculture in 1935, he soon thereafter enrolled in undergraduate studies at Cornell University. He studied sociology, receiving his Bachelor of Science in 1939 and Master's degree in 1941.[5] Holland became the first African American to play on Cornell's football team. He was selected All-American in 1937 and 1938.[6]

His Cornell football exploits later led to his induction in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1965.

Delaware State College presidency[edit]

In early 1953, Hollands met newly elected Delaware Gov. J. Caleb Boggs. After a couple of meetings between the two, Gov. Boggs convinced the Board of Trustees of Delaware State College to fill schools leadership vacancy by appointing Holland to be the sixth president in the then-62-year history of the institution.[5] In assuming the presidency of the DSC on July 1, 1953, Holland took over the leadership of a school that was at the lowest point in its history. The historically black college had lost its accreditation as a four-year institution of higher education in 1949.[7] In the subsequent years, some state officials were calling for the closure of DSC, while other advocated that it be converted to a junior college for Blacks.[8]

Under President Holland's leadership, significant improvements were made to the operation of the DSC Business Office. Dr. Holland then persuaded the Delaware General Assembly (DSC) to appropriate $2.45 million to the college, which resulted in the construction of five new buildings, some faculty housing units, as well as other building additions and renovations. He oversaw the reorganization of the school's administrative structure and athletics programs, and the streamlining of its academic departments. The college's first-ever general education program was established during his tenure, and there was a significant increase volume of books and the usage of the campus library.[5]

President Holland persuaded the Delaware General Assembly to pass legislation that increased the DSC Board of Trustees from six to 11 members, with five members appointed by the board. It was also during his tenure that the DSU integrated for the first time by the hiring of its first white faculty members and the enrollment of its first white students.[5]

Most importantly, the predominant achievement of President Holland's seven-year tenure was 1957 reaccreditation of Delaware State College by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (the accrediting body for the Mid-Atlantic region).[5]

Dr. Holland is also credited with greatly strengthening what previously had been a dormant relationship between the college and its alumni through the establishment of a Office of Alumni Affairs. Under Dr. Holland's leadership, the college also began attracting new philanthropic funding support.[5]

In March 1960, Dr. Holland announced his resignation from Delaware State College to accept a new appointment—the presidency of then-Hampton Institute (now University).

Dr. Jerome Holland memorial statue, president of Delaware State College from 1953 to 1960.

In 2018, Delaware State University erected and dedicated the Dr. Jerome H. Holland Memorial Statue on the front of the campus near the main entrance. The statue was created by Brad Vanneman, a sculptor artist from Wilmington, Del.[9]

Hampton Institute presidency[edit]

Dr. Holland succeeded Alonzo G. Moron as the ninth president of Hampton Institute, in a tenure that lasted from 1960 to 1970.

During his 10-year presidency, Hampton Institute experience a new period of growth. That included the construction of 12 new buildings at the cost of approximately $19 million. Alumni contributions increased by 643 percent; the annual budget of the school increased by 300 percent; the faculty increased in number by 66 percent and the average faculty salary doubled.[10]

Post academia years and death[edit]

Soon after Holland's retirement as president of Hampton Institute, he served as ambassador to Sweden for two years between 1970 and 1972.[11] His appointment was protested by the Swedish people, and the demonstrations contained racist attacks for which the Swedish government issued an official apology.[11] Holland was the first African American to sit on the board of the New York Stock Exchange, and served on the boards of AT&T, General Foods, the Culbro Corporation, Federated Department Stores, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Pan American Bankshares, the Union Carbide Corporation, Zurn Industries, and Continental Corporation.[5]

In 1979, as the result of his appointment President Jimmy Carter, Holland became the first African American to serve as the chairman of the Red Cross Board of Governors, a position he held until his death. The Red Cross renamed its research and development laboratory in Holland's honor in 1987.[5]

Holland died in New York City on January 13, 1985. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in April 1985.[12]


Holland was one of 13 children. His son, Joe Holland, one of ten children,[13] also played for Cornell. He was selected as a third team All-American running back by the Associated Press for the 1978 College Football All-America Team, and as a graduate student with a 3.70 GPA, the same year, as an Academic All American. In 1991, he became a member of the Academic Hall of Fame.[14] An attorney, playwright and entrepreneur, Joe Holland is a Republican, as was his father. He filed as a candidate for Governor of New York in the 2018 election.[15]


  1. ^ History Behind the first African-American to lead the American Red Cross, American Red Cross. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Educator and Diplomat, Jerome Holland". African American Registry. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  3. ^ "Educator and Diplomat, Jerome Holland". Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  4. ^ Williams, Clarence G. (2001). Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941-1999. The MIT Press. p. 1. ISBN 026223212X.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Story of Dr. Jerome Holland". Delaware State University.
  6. ^ Part & Apart, The Black Experience at Cornell, 1865-1945, by Carol Kammen, 2009
  7. ^ The Report of the Inspection of Delaware State College, Dover, Del., for the Middle States Association, Oct. 27-28, 1949
  8. ^ The Papers Collection of Gov. Elbert N. Carvel, Delaware State Archives
  9. ^ "Brad Vanneman - commissions".
  10. ^ "Holland, Jerome Heartwell". Hampton University. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ a b Edward Burton (June 2009). "Racism on the Palace Steps?". Scandinavian Journal of History. 32 (4): 122, 128. doi:10.1080/03468750902860443.
  12. ^ "13 are Named Winnersof Medal of Freedom". The New York Times. 9 April 1985. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  13. ^ Rodgers, Teri (November 6, 2005). "Square Feet: Interview -- With Joseph H. Holland; A Developer's Rocky Quest To Revitalize Harlem". New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  14. ^ Academic All America 1978 Football, College Sports Information Directors of America. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  15. ^ Lovett, Ken (February 14, 2018). "Republican Joseph Holland who co-chaired Pataki's winning campaign announces he's running for governor". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 1, 2018.


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by U.S. Ambassador to Sweden
Succeeded by