Ralph D. Hetzel

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Ralph Dorn Hetzel
Ralph Dorn Hetzel.jpg
Hetzel pictured in La Vie 1928, Penn State yearbook
10th President of the
Pennsylvania State University
In office
Preceded by John Martin Thomas
Succeeded by James Milholland
President of
New Hampshire College
In office
Personal details
Born (1882-12-31)December 31, 1882
Merrill, Wisconsin
Died October 3, 1947(1947-10-03) (aged 64)
University Park, Pennsylvania
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ralph Dorn Hetzel (December 31, 1882 – October 3, 1947) was the tenth president of the Pennsylvania State University, serving from 1927 until 1947. Prior to that he served as the president of the New Hampshire College, which became the University of New Hampshire in 1923, under Hetzel's tenure.

It was during Hetzel's presidency that Penn State's football program shifted to the oversight of the University, rather than the Board of Athletic Control, run by alumni at the time. Hugo Bezdek, coach of the football team at the time, was unpopular among influential alumni in the Pittsburgh area. Dissatisfied that Bezdek had been unable to defeat long-time rival University of Pittsburgh, the alumni accepted an agreement that would remove him from the head coaching position in exchange for a transfer of control to the Department of Physical Education, which would be elevated to the status of a school (the present-day College of Health and Human Development).[1]

The Hetzel Union Building (HUB) at Penn State University and Hetzel St. in State College are named for Hetzel. Hetzel Hall, a dormitory at the University of New Hampshire, is named after him as well.


  1. ^ Bezilla, Michael. "Alumni Give Up Control Of Football Program". Penn State Flashback. Penn State University. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 

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