- Nathan M. Pusey
Nathan Marsh Pusey 24th President of Harvard University Term 1953 – 1971 Predecessor James Bryant Conant Successor Derek Curtis Bok Born April 4, 1907
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Died November 14, 2001(aged 94)
New York City, New York
Alma mater Harvard Religion Episcopalian Spouse Anne (Woodward) Pusey Children Nathan M. Pusey Jr., James R. Pusey, Rosemary (Pusey) Hopkins
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. He was, on the other hand, 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 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
- ^ NATHAN PUSEY DEAD AT 94 Harvard’s 24th President Passes Away, Cambridge, MA.: The Harvard Crimson, 15 November 2001
- ^ a b The Harvard Crimson
- ^ 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
Academic offices Preceded by
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
* indicates acting president
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