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May 25, 1960 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1960-05-25
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e University



Ways Has the Concept


18 -1910


By Philip Power
AN OLD CAMPUS tradition has
Ait that when James B. Angell
was president of the University
from 1887 to 1909, it was his prac-
tice to take a walk when he had
finished his work for the day. As
this was often early in the morn-
ing, he usually found the streets
deserted and the campus silent.
Quite early one morning, he
noticed the lights on in a student's
room and went up to investigate.
There, the President found a stu-
dent working grimly on his chem-
istry homework, obviously having
considerable difficulty finishing it.
Saying, "Well, just what seems
to be the problem here?" President
Angell drew up a chair and helped
the student with his work for
around an hour. Then he stood up
and said gruffly, "That's' enough
for you for tonight. You get to bed
now, and when you go to class to-
morrow, tell your professor that
President Angell said it was all
right that your homework for to-
day was unfinished. Then you
come see me in the afternoon and
we'll work out something further
to help you."
DAY WITH A University 20
times the size and many more
times the complexity of that under
President Angell, it is almost in-
conceivable that any member of
the higher administration could
ever be found wandering around
in the evening, occasionally help-
ing students with their homework.
Yet the contrast offered by the
small University and its presidency
of the past, and the vast Univer-
sity and the presidency of the
present may point up one of the
most important and difficult prob-
lems facing the University: how to
administer most effectively one of
the most complicated and diverse
educational institutions in the
The University of President An-
gell's day was a small school with
a 1,200 man enrollment, located in'
three schools and colleges. Because
of its small size and relatively
simple organizational structure,
Presidelt Angell practically single-
handed was able to administer and
run the University in an amazingly
pervasive and personal way
HE HIRED and fired professors,
going out, in the words of one
professor, "to beat the academic
bush for new faculty men." He
acted as Dean of Men and Women
combined, handling the discipli-
nary and counselling functions
now the realm of the two Deans'
offices. Meeting with deans and
faculty, he determined and carried
out educational policies and
planned for future growth. He
handled the students' admissions
and then registered them in their
courses. "He did just about every-
thing that went on in the Uni-
versity," one professor remarked,
"and I wonder whether he .didn't
sweep the floors at night too."
As a result of being personally
and directly involved in almost
everything that went on in the
University, President Angell was
able to influence its nature, give
it a specific orientation and cohe-
sion, a definite moral and intel-
lectual tone to a degree which is
impossible for a President of to-
day's expanded University.
SUCH IS impossible today not be-
cause University administra-
tors are all lesser men than was
President Angell, but because the
nature and scope of the job of Uni-
versity administration has ex-
panded so in the intervening 70
odd years.
The University whose President
Is Harlan Hatcher is a vast, fan-
tastically complicated institution
of nearly 25,000 students enrolled
at three campuses through the

state, with 17 a u t o n o m o u s
schools and colleges, each offering
a different program to its students.1
Over and beyond the academic
areas, extension programs, resi-
dence halls, athletic programs, re-
search projects, hospitals all oc-

The President must be a leader in many ways. Here, President Hatcher leads an assembly to dedi-
cate the New Revised Standard Edition of the Holy Bible


interest; the list of concern is end-
For ultimately, in a direct day-
to-day sense, it is the President
who is responsible for everything
that goes on in the University-a
school fundamentally different
from the school of President An-
All this means that the Presi-
dent's activities are amazingly
varied, complicated and time-con-
HIS JOB CAN, without too much
damage to the facts, be split
into two generalized areas of con-
cern: external relations and in-
ternal coordinations.
"The President, by definition is
the chief executive officer of the
University," President Hatcher
said recently. Especially in his
functioning in the external areas
of concern, "he becomes to a high
degree symbolic of the University.
This fact dictates a large part of
the pattern of his behavior."
This consideration becomes
especially important in what is
certainly the ,most time-consum-
ing, and perhaps the most im-
portant external function of the
President: fund raising. "There is
scarcely a day that I don't give
some of my attention to this,"
President Hatcher remarked.
Fund-raising, "the translation
of the University's program into
dollar needs," has in turn two
general subdivisions: state funds
and funds from private donors,
the Federal government and foun-
ON THE STATE side, the Presi-
dent must first spend vastl
amounts of time determining and
planning the future growth and
needs of the University, and then
transforming these projects into
the voluminous and detailed bud-
get request submitted yearly to the
Legislature.. Then the President
must, personally, go to Lansing to
answer questions concerning his
budget, defend it against some-
times hostile or uninformed criti-
cism, and participate in the pro-
cess of lobbying with the Legisla-
tors. Depending on how long the
budget and capital outlay hear-
ings last, often a matter of several
weeks or more, the President must
either be in Lansing personally or
be in touch with his representa-
tives there daily.
His out of state fund-raising
activities are less centralized but
just- as time-consuming. Private
doners must be sought -out, ap-

proached with specific plans and
convinced that a gift is the best
use for their money. Rare indeed
are the unannaunced and unex-
pected gifts to the University.
Planning, long trips, responses
to questions, and justifications
similar to those required by the
state Legislature are needed to
obtain money from the Federal
government. If anything, more
effort is required here per dollar
obtained, for Washington, even
more than Lansing, is full of
people trying to get money.
FOUNDATIONS, too, especially
in recent years, have been sub-
-jected to increasing pressure from
academic institutions for funds.
In this area, where competition is
so fierce, presidential description
and justification of the project
for which funds are needed is
especially crucial.
An important source of money
and good-will (which often pays
off in cash) is the University's
many alumni, scattered as indi-
viduals and clubs throughout the
country and the world. The Presi-
dent receives great numbers of in-
vitations to speak to alumni clubs,
both to stimulate the club's spirit-
ual ties with Michigan and to plea
for increased alumni contribu-
tions. As many clubs are located
far from Ann Arbor, the travel
time alone required for the Presi-
dent to get there is considerable.
A LL THESE diverse activities in
which the President engages in
his never-ending search for funds

and good will are essentially edu-
He must educate Legislators,
alumni, foundations a n d pri-
vate doners to the value of a con-
tinuing institution of quality edu-
cation. And his educational func-
tion is made even more difficult
by the constantly increasing costs
facing the University, requiring
more and more money merely to
maintain the status quo. In the
last analysis, the President of the
University, a tax-supported insti-
tution, is running a race with in-
flation, depending on the public
willingness to tax itself to support
educational excellence. This job
alone is back-breaking; and it is
but a small part of the entire job
of the President.
The constant search for funds
is often disagreeable and tiring,
but the President cannot afford
to shirk the job. For donors of all
types invariably insist that they
see the President in person before
they are willing to give their
money. The president who ignores
this desire runs the grave danger
of not getting any funds at all.
There is a story, well-known to
college presidents, of the president
of a large southern university who
disliked going to the state legisla-
ture each year to beg for funds.
One year he sent one of his vice-
presidents in his place. The legis-
lators, angered at this slight, cut
the university's appropriation by
a million dollars. And the next
year, the president went back to
the legislature in person.
part of the President's func-
tion directly outside the bounds of
the University community. As the
chief executive officer of the Uni-
versity, he is the University for
the general public, and much of
his energy is devoted to cultivat-
ing its public image. This means
that he must be present and give
speeches at all occasions where
University participation is nec-
essary. He must meet and often
entertain foreign and domestic
dignitaries when they come to
Ann Arbor.
vate donors to the value of a con-
vast in extent. "I could do nothing
all year but speak to groups,"
President Hatcher says. This
means that all invitations and de-
Philip Power is a senior in
the literary college and edi.
torial director of The Daily.

wnands on the President's time
must be carefully pruned. "We al-
ways ask:'What meaning does this
particular event or invitation have
for the University and for educa-
tion in general. If it has less than
other alternatives, it must be
turned down."
BUT THE President is not only
concerned with education at
Michigan, but also with the state
of e d u c a t i o n throughout the
United States and the world. He
is a professional educator, and as
such has even further demands on
his time. He must attend profes-
sional meetings and conferences,
hear and give papers. Last year,
President Hatcher led a United*
States delegation of educators to'
Russia to study the Soviet educa-
tional system. This trip, valuable
.to education in general, was also
one which took the President away
from his daily functions at the
University for a considerable per-
iod of time.
Inside the confines of the Uni-
versity community, the Pfesident's
functions are fully as broad and
demanding as outside. As chief
executive officer, he is of course
at the top of the administrative,
professorial and student hierarchy
which runs through any school.
1JOTHE students, the University
President is largely unknown
and unreachable except through
his infrequent speaking appear-
ances on the campus, his occa-
sional participation in classes, and
the famous Hatcher Teas, held at
his home. Otherwise, in the nor-
mal course of his day, the Presi-
dent sees no students-except the
omnipresent Daily reporters.
PresidentHatcher worries about
this lack of personal communica-
tion between himself and the stu-
dent body. When asked how he
would change his job, if he could
make any alterations he wished,
he. replied, "I would like some-
how to find a better method for
meeting more students on an in-
formal basis. A President shouldn't
have to lecture at them;.he should
be able to talk with them."
Within the University commu-
nity, as without, the President acts
as the representative of the Uni-
versity-this time to itself. He is
always invited to the many ad-
ministration, faculty and student
dinners and other social occasions
occurring during the year. He sel-
dom finds time to attend even a
small part of the events to which
he is invited.
ALTHOUGH some of the Presi-
dent's dealings with the facul-
ty are delegated to Vice-Presi-
dent and Dean of Faculties Marvin
Niehuss, President Hatcher is di-
rectly concerned with the faculty
as a whole, a concern expressed by
his ex officio position as chairman
of the Faculty Senate.
But acting as top administrative
officer to the faculty is not as
easy as first appears. For faculty
administration cannot be carried
out on a basis of "this is a big
business, so let's run it like one,"
as some in Lansing have asserted.
The University is large, compli-
cated and often financially orient-
ed; but it is not a big business. It
in fact a community of scholars,
where the dominant tone is a "so-
ciety of equals." In such a society,
the President cannot dominate au-
tocratically as business efficiency
would sometimes dictate, but must
function in his dealings with the
faculty (and to a lesser extent
with the administration) as a first
among equals.
To the individual faculty mem-
ber, the President is hardly an
equal. However, to the faculty as
a whole, to whom long and un-
breakable tradition has given great
control over curriculum, academic
tenure and academic freedom, the
President is at most only an equal


IT IS within. such a framework;
that he must lead the Universi-
ty, participating with the faculty
and deans in all the discussion
and planning that constantly takes
place. All major plans that affect
the University's growth, future
forms and educational policies-to
name but a few areas-are ulti-
mately the concern of the Presi-
dent, along with the deans and
As the chief administrator, the
President serves largely as a re-
view agency for administrative de-
cisions made further down in the
University structure. As Dean
Roger B. Heyns of the Literary
College remarked recently, "The
presence of review up the line
makes all decisions be taken more
carefully." In carrying out such
reviews of previously taken decis-
ions, the President cannot be so
much concerned with the specif-
ic nature of the decision he is re-
viewing as with the way in which
the man who originally made the
decision went about making it.
BY CONTRAST, in the days of
President Angell, the Presi-
dent could concern himself di-
rectly with the specifics of decis-
ions made throughout the Uni-
versity, largely because it was
simple enough that most of the
problems facing it could be un-
derstood thoroughly by one man,
and small enough that the num-
ber of decisions which might have
required Presidential considera-
tion was much less than it is today.
This means that as the Univer-
sity has become increasingly large
and complex, the President's level
of administrative concern has be-
come increasingly generalized. The
President is accordingly one of the
few men in the University who has
the luxury of an overview of the
University as a working whole
rather than the necessarilly atom-
istic conception held by the ad-
ministrator on lower levels. This
overall view, because it is not
bogged down with often unneces-
sary details, is valuable for the
University, for it enables it .pos-
sessor to clearly chart the Univer-
sity's present position and future
course as a functionally interre-
lated entity rather than as a col-
lection of inidividual units.
OMETIMES, but at all too rare
intervals, the President gets a
chance to sit down for a moment
and think. President Hatcher man-
ages to do some quiet thinking
while-he is travelling from one en-

Of the Presidency Changed
During the University 's History


gagement to another, especially
if the trip is long; or sometimes he
manages an hour in his study be-
fore his appointments begin in the
morning. But one of the real prob-
lems of his job is that its terrific
burdens make it nearly impossible
for him to get sufficient time out
from his daily schedule to do any
serious uninterrupted thinking
about the University - thinking
that his unique position as posses-
sor of a .wholistic view makes par-
ticularlly essential.
On and on goes the list of func-
tions of the University's President.
About the physical demands of his
job, President Hatcher remarked,
"You must be dedicated; then get
a little sleep, and try to keep in
such physical trim that the job
won't get you down."
And, if the rate of college and
university presidential r e s i g n a-
tions of recent years is any indi-
cation, the sheer magnitude of the
job can get some men down. For a
university presidency has an unu-
sually wide and diversely inter-

ested constituency: students, fac-
ulty, administration, alumni, tax-
payers. It has been called, rather
ruefully, by one college adminis-
trator "one of the most highly
pressured jobs in the world."


HE VAST expansion of the
duties of the University Presi-
dency r a i s e s several profound
problems for both the President
and his University.
One involves the restrictions im-
posed on the President by the lim-
its of human physical strength,
plus the limit of a 24-hour day,
combined with the ever-increas-
ing demands of the job. A Presi-
dent, any President, can do only
so much. And if he is forced to do
more and more as time goes on,
he will either drive himself to
physical breakdown or parts of
what are usually defined as his job
will go undone. Either alternative
is undesirable.
The University has chosen to at-
tack this problem by aiding the
President with groups of Vice-
presidents and deans, to whom
functions not absolutely necessary
for the President to handle himself
can be delegated.
TIHE OTHER problem involves a
-drastic change in the nature of
the University Presidency from
what it was in President Angell's
day and the implications of this
change for the University's future.
This, too, has largely been caused
by the increase in the job the
President must do, coupled with
the pressures of time.
The situation has been most
clearly expressed by Harold Tay-
lor, former president of Sarah
Lawrence College, in a New York
Times Magazine article around a
year ago:
"It is the task of the college
president to make a home for the
spirit of learning, although in
contemporary America he is sel-
dom free to think of his mission
in ideas of this size. He is too
absorbed in operating the business
of learning to occupy himself with
its spirit. His position as an edu-

The President of the Universie
powers as are inherent in a chief
o f the interests and the wise govej
improvement of. its standards and
ance of health , diligence, an ord
of which he shall cooperate with
advance, except upon emergencyx
ary appointments, when he shall
subject to confirmation of his ac
He shall annually prepare and
on this progress of the Universit:
The President is ex officio cha
ate and a member of each of th
In the absence or disability of
of a vacancy in the office of Pres
an acting president, who, for the
powers and duties of the Preside




University President Alexander Ruthven

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