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Harold W. Dodds

Harold W. Dodds
Born Harold Willis Dodds
June 28, 1889
Utica, Pennsylvania
Died October 25, 1980(1980-10-25) (aged 91)
Hightstown, New Jersey
Education B.A. Grove City College
M.A. Princeton University
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
Alma mater Grove City College, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania
Title President of Princeton University
Term 1933–1957
Predecessor John Grier Hibben
Successor Robert F. Goheen

Harold Willis Dodds (June 28, 1889 – October 25, 1980) was the fifteenth President of Princeton University.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Before joining Princeton faculty 2
  • At Princeton 3
  • Later life 4
  • References 5

Early life and education

Dodds was born on June 28, 1889 in Utica, Pennsylvania, the son of a professor of Bible Studies at Grove City College.[1] After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Grove City College in 1909 and teaching public school for two years, he received his MA at Princeton in 1914 and his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1917. After receiving his PhD, he married Margaret Murray.

Before joining Princeton faculty

Dodds served in the U.S. Food Administration during World War I.[2] After the war, he taught at Western Reserve University, then became the secretary of the National Municipal League until 1928. In this position, he met Charles Evans Hughes, who was president of the league at that time. Hughes introduced him to electoral problems in Latin America. Dodds soon became an advisor to the President of Nicaragua, helping to draft the electoral law of 1923 and supervise elections in 1928, and also became involved in the electoral law of other Latin American nations.[1]

At Princeton

In 1925, Dodds joined Princeton as a professor of politics and became a full professor in 1927. In 1930, he was appointed the first chair of the School of Public and International Affairs, which is now commonly known as the Woodrow Wilson School.[2] He was appointed president in 1933 during the midst of the Great Depression, and continued serving as president until 1957. He was a very popular president throughout his tenure.[3]

During Dodds's tenure, the university faced many hardships. The Great Depression caused great financial uncertainty, leading Dodds to establish annual giving. Although the program started out modestly, it soon became a major source of income for the university. Also, during World War II, Princeton established an accelerated program to allow students to graduate early to join the armed forces.[2] Despite facing the Great Depression and two wars, the university continued to grow during this period, adding four new departments in aeronautical engineering, Near Eastern studies, religion, and music.[1]

During a two-year period from 1946 to 1947, the bicentennial anniversary of Princeton was being celebrated. During this time, there were three major convocations and almost continuous conferences. Dodds established bicentennial preceptorships to allow young faculty members to spend a year in research.[2]

Later life

Dodds retired in 1957 and was succeeded by Robert F. Goheen. He died at his home in Hightstown, New Jersey in 1980.[4]


  1. ^ a b c A Princeton CompanionExcerpt from
  2. ^ a b c d Presidents of Princeton
  3. ^ "The Quiet One", TIME Magazine, 6 July 1953. Accessed 28 May 2008.
  4. ^ Farber, M. A. "Harold W. Dodds, 91, Former Princeton President; A Test of Principles First Taught High School Helped Student Move", The New York Times, 26 October 1980. Accessed March 3, 2008.
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Grier Hibben
President of Princeton University
1933 - 1957
Succeeded by
Robert F. Goheen
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Murray Seasongood
President of the National Municipal League
1934 – 1937
Succeeded by
Clarence A. Dykstra
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