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 College (B.A.), and received M.A. (1928) and Ph.D (1937) degrees from Harvard where he studied English literature and ancient history.
Pusey's first teaching post after he graduated was at Riverdale Country School. He then served at Lawrence College, Scripps College, and Wesleyan University. He served as president of Lawrence College (1944–1953), and later as the 24th president of Harvard University (1953–1971).
During his presidency of Harvard, Pusey overhauled the admissions process, which had been biased heavily in favor of the alumni of New England-based boarding schools, and began admitting public school graduates on the basis of scores obtained on standardized tests such as the SAT. This was highly controversial with the school's alumni population, but set the stage for the diversification of the student body and faculty.
Pusey vigorously opposed McCarthyism in the 1950s and supported the US 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 he 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 his time at 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