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Melvin A. Eggers

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Melvin Arnold Eggers (February 21, 1916 – November 20, 1994)[1] was the ninth Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. Eggers took office in 1971, amidst tumult at Syracuse and other university campuses, and retired in 1991. He is the third-longest serving chancellor in Syracuse history.[2][3]

Early life and education


Eggers was born February 21, 1916, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Indiana University in 1940 and 1941, respectively.[1] He served in the Navy as a Japanese-language officer during World War II and was discharged as a Lieutenant in 1946.[4][5] Eggers had begun graduate work at the University of Chicago before the war, and continued it at Yale University after the war ended.[6]

Career at Syracuse


After receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Yale in 1950, Eggers became an assistant professor in the economics department at Syracuse University, where he subsequently became department chair (1960)[7][8] and full professor (1963).[9] As an economics professor, his specialization was in finance, industrial organization, and economic development.[5]

Eggers was appointed provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs on July 1, 1970.[10]

Chancellor and President


When the previous chancellor, John E. Corbally, unexpectedly left Syracuse to lead the University of Illinois system, Eggers was named the acting chancellor effective on March 15, 1971.[11] He was formally appointed the ninth chancellor and president on June 4, 1971.[4][5][12][13]

Eggers took office in the midst of student demonstrations and strikes, primarily focused on ending the Vietnam War.[14] He also had to deal with the financial stress affecting similar private universities.[15] SU was experiencing sharp drop in enrollments in hard sciences as the job market shifted from those fields.[16] Within the same year, Eggers instituted a hiring freeze and raised tuition by 5% to balance the budget shortfall of several millions.[17][18]

Eggers is widely seen as having strengthened Syracuse academically and tangibly over his two decades as chancellor. During his tenure, enrollment rose by more than 3,000 students, the number of faculty members grew ~20%, and faculty grants almost doubled. Over 29 major buildings were either opened or renovated, including Center for Science and Technology, the Schine Student Center, the Crouse-Hinds Hall, and the Carrier Dome. He also directed renovation of the Hall of Languages.[1][3] He created the a separate S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications within first few months of his post.[19][20]

Eggers also guided the university community through the trauma of the December 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 35 students who were returning from a semester of study at Syracuse's London campus.[21]

Eggers retired as chancellor in 1991. He was succeeded by Kenneth "Buzz" Shaw.[22]

Public service


Eggers served on numerous committees and his prominent role in state, local, and national affairs benefited SU as well as the wider community.[6] At the national level, Eggers was an influential figure in the development of public policy for higher education. He was a member of the American Council on Education, former chairman of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. A member of the Association of American Universities, he was chairman of the Committee on Research Libraries and served on its executive committee. At the state level, he served as a member of the New York State Commissioner's Advisory Council on Post Secondary Education, the Board of Trustees of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York, and also as co-chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Financial Policy of the Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New York. Locally, He consulted to several financial institutions, served on the boards of several local businesses and industries, was appointment to the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, and chaired of the board of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.[23]



Eggers received honorary doctorates from Nazareth College (New York) (1981), State University of New York (1985), and Indiana University (1986).[6][24] He was awarded the Simon Le Moyne Medal from Le Moyne College in 1978.[25] In 1979 he was designated by the Chamber as Businessman of the Year.

Eggers Hall, which houses the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University was dedicated in his honor in October 1994.[26]


  • Economic Processes: The Level of Economic Activity. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. OCLC 747526290.
  • Economic Processes: The Composition of Economic Activity. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. OCLC 1068503236.



He died at the age of 78 on November 20, 1994 at his home in DeWitt, a suburb of Syracuse. He was survived by his wife Mildred (née Chenoweth) and three adult children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Pace, Eric (1994-11-21). "Melvin Eggers, 78, Syracuse University Chancellor". The New York Times. p. B10 Open access icon.
  2. ^ "Chancellor Melvin A. Eggers Records A description of the records at the Syracuse University Archives". library.syr.edu. SU Libraries. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b Hill, Bob (1994). "Remembering Melvin A. Eggers: "A Legacy for Excellence"". Syracuse University Magazine. Vol. 11, no. 2. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University.
  4. ^ a b "'Acting' is Removed". The Ithaca Journal. AP. 4 June 1971. p. 7. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  5. ^ a b c Lawrence, Al (4 June 1971). "Dr. Eggers Choice For SU Chancellor: Committee To Present Name Today". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. pp. 1, 9. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  6. ^ a b c "Honoree: University Honors & Awards". honorsandawards.iu.edu. Indiana University. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Notes". The American Economic Review. 50 (3). American Economic Association: 550. 1960. ISSN 0002-8282. JSTOR 1814278. Retrieved 28 December 2020. Administrative Appointments: Melvin A. Eggers: chairman, department of economics, Syracuse University. (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Forecast Dinner". The Post-Standard. 28 January 1970. p. 22. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Notes". The American Economic Review. 53 (4). American Economic Association: 891. 1963. ISSN 0002-8282. JSTOR 1811085. Retrieved 28 December 2020. Promotions: Melvin A. Eggers: professor of economics, Syracuse University. (subscription required)
  10. ^ "Bartlett, Carleton Named to Top SU Posts". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. 11 July 1970. p. 6. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  11. ^ "Syracuse University Passes Austerity Budget". Poughkeepsie Journal. AP. 11 March 1971. p. 20. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  12. ^ "Dr. Eggers Inspires Confidence". The Post-Standard. 5 June 1971. p. 4. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  13. ^ "SU Chancellor Eggers Establishes 1st Priority". The Post-Standard. 5 June 1971. p. 6. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  14. ^ Greene, John Robert; Baron, Karrie A.; Hall, Debora D.; Sharp, Matthew (November 1998). Syracuse University: Volume V: The Eggers Years. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-0549-2. OCLC 1285849861. Retrieved 29 January 2023. Alt URL
  15. ^ "Private Universities Seek Fiscal Answers". The Post-Standard. 30 November 1971. p. 22. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  16. ^ Mcguire, patrick (22 October 1971). "Trust Economic Leaders, Asks Syracuse U. President". Press and Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. p. 17. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  17. ^ Lawrence, Al (6 November 1971). "SU Hiring Freeze May Balance Budget". The Post-Standard. p. 8. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  18. ^ Lawrence, Al (25 November 1971). "Syracuse University Melvin A. Eggers Chancellor president Tuition Increase Financial Stress". The Post-Standard. p. 42. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  19. ^ "Separate School: Newhouse Unit Formed at SU". The Post-Standard. 5 June 1971. p. 5. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  20. ^ "New Chancellor Spearheads Syracuse Journalism School". Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News, Wilkes-Barre Record. 12 June 1971. p. 2. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  21. ^ Yen, Marianne (23 December 1988). "A Tragic End to the Semester". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Syracuse names new chancellor: University of Wisconsin system president to succeed Eggers". Star-Gazette. AP. 26 April 1991. p. 13. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  23. ^ Short, J. R.; Benton, L. M.; Luce, W. B.; Walton, J. (1993). "Reconstructing the Image of an Industrial City". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 83 (2): 212. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1993.tb01932.x. ISSN 0004-5608. JSTOR 2563493. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  24. ^ "SUNY Honorary Degrees". www.albany.edu. University at Albany. Archived from the original on 22 April 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Alumni Award Recipients". www.lemoyne.edu. Le Moyne College. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  26. ^ "University Archives: Buildings of SU". Syracuse University. Retrieved 28 December 2020.

Further reading

  • Greene, John Robert (1998). Syracuse University: The Eggers Years. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-0549-8.
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of Syracuse University
1971 - 1991
Succeeded by