Nathan M. Pusey
|Nathan M. Pusey|
|President of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation|
|Preceded by||Charles Hamilton|
|Succeeded by||John Edward Sawyer|
|24th President of Harvard University|
|Preceded by||James Bryant Conant|
|Succeeded by||Derek Curtis Bok|
|President of Lawrence University|
|Preceded by||Thomas Nichols Barrows|
|Succeeded by||Douglas Maitland Knight|
|Born||Nathan Marsh Pusey
April 4, 1907
Council Bluffs, Iowa
|Died||November 14, 2001
New York City, New York
|Spouse(s)||Anne (Woodward) Pusey|
|Children||Nathan M. Pusey Jr., James R. Pusey, Rosemary (Pusey) Hopkins|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Nathan Marsh Pusey (April 4, 1907 – November 14, 2001) was a prominent American university educator.
Early life and education
Pusey was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to John and Rosa Pusey. He was educated at Harvard University (B.A., 1928, M.A., 1932, Ph.D., 1937), where he studied first English literature and then ancient history.
Pusey's first teaching post after graduating was at Riverdale Country School. He progressed to Lawrence College, then to Scripps College, and later to Wesleyan University. He served as president of Lawrence College (1944–1953), and later as the 24th president of Harvard University (1953–1971).
Pusey vigorously opposed McCarthyism in the 1950s and supported the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. His clashes with Joseph McCarthy were especially significant because Pusey's position at Lawrence College placed him in the senator's hometown (Appleton, Wisconsin) and amid the political power base of the then-conservative Fox Valley. As president of the college, Pusey held the community's respect, and his vocal criticisms of McCarthy resounded loudly in the area. Pusey was a deeply religious man and a somewhat traditionalist scholar, and was appalled by the student radicalism that raged in American universities in the late 1960s.
He complained bitterly that "learning has almost ceased" in many universities, because of the violent, revolutionary activities of a "small group of overeager young . . who feel they have a special calling to redeem society." In April 1969, student activists occupied Harvard's University Hall (the building that housed most of the administrative offices) in protest over the presence of ROTC on campus at the height of the Vietnam War, and in response Pusey summoned the police to arrest the demonstrators. Although his action was legal, it was widely criticized, and the resulting furor probably contributed to his early retirement in 1971. After Harvard, Pusey was president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1971–1975) and president of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (1979–1980).
- The Age of the Scholar, 1963
- American Higher Education 1945-1970: A Personal Report, 1978
- The Harvard Crimson
- NATHAN PUSEY DEAD AT 94 Harvard’s 24th President Passes Away, Cambridge, MA.: The Harvard Crimson, 15 November 2001
- Yarrow, Andrew L. (15 November 2001), Nathan Pusey, Harvard President Through Growth and Turmoil Alike, Dies at 94, New York, N.Y.: The New York Times, p. Section D page 11.
- Biography at Lawrence University
- Obituary in the Harvard Crimson
- Obituary in the Harvard Gazette
- Obituary in the New York Times
- Nathan M. Pusey at Find a Grave
Thomas Nichols Barrows
|President of Lawrence University
Douglas Maitland Knight
James B. Conant
|President of Harvard University
Derek C. Bok
|President of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
John Edward Sawyer