Forms Part of Record Group No. 3, Records of the Office of the President
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RELATED COLLECTIONS: Records of the Faculty Senate; University Publications; Records of the Dean of Faculties; Records of the Treasurer and Business Manager (William O. Nicholls)
Hurst Robin Anderson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 16, 1904. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1926. He entered law school at the University of Michigan, but, upon realizing he would not have funds to complete his law degree, he enrolled in the master’s program in speech at Northwestern University. After attaining his M.A. he became professor of debate and English at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1928. He married Marian Powell in 1932.
In the early 1930s, Allegheny’s new president, William P. Tolley, encouraged Anderson to pursue a career in college administration, so the latter began advanced graduate work toward a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. However, his plans changed again in 1943 when Anderson accepted the presidency of Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where he remained for the next five years. Subsequently he became president of Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He thus acquired extensive administrative experience prior to accepting the presidency of the American University in 1952, where he remained until 1968.
Anderson passed away on April 15, 1989, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Anderson at American University
When Anderson arrived at the American University, the institution was in serious financial difficulties. Anderson took drastic measures to cut the deficit, and, with the assistance of the Methodist Church as well as business leaders, managed to balance the budget and to restore the academic standing of the university. He phased out the Downtown Center, and consolidated all programs on the main uptown campus.
During Anderson’s tenure the American University undertook an extensive building program to enlarge the campus facilities, including new classroom buildings and dormitories. More than twenty major construction projects were completed between 1952 and 1968. Several schools were added, including the first school of business administration in Washington (now the Kogod School of Business), the School of Government and Public Administration (now the School of Public Affairs), the School of International Service, and the School of Nursing. With the completion of the John Sherman Myers Law Building in 1964, the Washington College of Law was able to move uptown.
The American University grew considerably during Anderson’s presidency. When Anderson arrived in 1952, the faculty numbered 326; by 1966, two years before his retirement, there were 661 faculty members. The student enrollment in 1952 was 4,100; by 1967 it was 13,610. The net worth of the university in 1952 was $4,218,496; by the end of June, 1966, it was $26,597,610. The only operating deficit occurred the year Anderson arrived due to the pre-existing financial problems. The budget was continuously balanced after that. Concurrently, the university’s academic standing and its national and international reputation increased significantly.
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of Hurst Robin Anderson consist of articles, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, memoranda, photographs, printed matter, reports, and speeches related to his presidency at the American University, as well as his involvement in numerous academic, civic, corporate, and religious organizations. The papers span the period from 1952 to 1968.
The materials on the Commission on Inter-Jurisdictional Relations of the Methodist Church include a history by James P. Brawley of African-Americans in the Methodist Church from colonial times to the 1960s.
Box & Folder Listing
Middle States Association Reports, 1951-62 [5 folders]
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
Report to NCATE, 1965
Act of Incorporation (as amended), 1963
Administrative Coordinating Committee, 1964-66
Administrative Matters, 1951-63 [2 folders]
Admissions, 1959-65 [2 folders]
Advisory Corrections Council, 1953-57
Alumni Association Activities, 1964-67
Alumni Council Roster, 1957-58
Correspondence 1953-55, 1961
Survey of Alumni in Science, 1949
American Association of University Professors, 1957-63
American Association of University Women, 1949-62
American Council on Education (ACE)
Annual Report, 1966
Brochure on History and Activities of the ACE, 1959
Correspondence, 1955-61, 1965
Commission on Education and International Affairs, 1958-60
Committee for Understanding Abroad, 1958-60
Committee on Inter-American Schools Service, 1956-60
Committee on Relationships of Higher Education, 1956-60
American Foundations Information Service, 1952-53
American Language Center, 1956-57
American Studies Program Proposal, 1958
American University (AU) Press, 1955
Anderson, Ann Gaskill (secretary), 1964
Anderson, Hurst R., President
Appointment to Presidency of AU, 1952
Articles, 1954-67 [several undated]
Biographical Information [2 folders]
Broadcasts, 1954, 1963
Events in His Honor, 1968
Inauguration as President of AU, 1953
Letters of Appreciation, 1961-64
Anderson, Hurst R., President (continued)
Membership in Iqbal Society [named after a Pakistani Muslim philosopher], 1960-64
Middle East Trips, 1954, 1956
Retirement, 1968 [2 folders]
Special Events, 1966-67 [2 folders]
Speeches, 1952-68 [2 folders]
Anderson, (Mrs.) Marian Powell
Area Studies at American Universities, 1955
Association of American Colleges, 1955-60, 1963-64 [2 folders]