The Dean of the University was an office established by the Advisory and Executive Committee in December 1899 to relieve the president of routine and disciplinary work. The first dean was Winslow Upton, who resigned in 1901 for health reasons. Alexander Meiklejohn was dean from 1901 to 1912, and concerned himself with scholastic achievement, attendance, athletic activities, and social life of the students. Otis Randall, who followed Meiklejohn, was dean until 1930. He wrote a book, The Dean’s Window, about his experiences and observations as dean. After a year as acting dean in 1929-1930, Samuel T. Arnold was given the title of Dean of Undergraduates. In 1937 his title was changed to Dean of the College. There was no Dean of the University until 1946, when Arnold assumed that office. Robert W. Kenny was Dean of the College from 1947 to 1952. In 1949 Arnold was named Provost and there was no Dean of the University.
In the 1950s and 60s the deanery at Brown became known as a training ground for college presidents. The five Deans of the College who became college presidents were: James Stacy Coles, acting dean of the College for one year when he became president of Bowdoin College in 1952; Brown president Barnaby Keeney, acting dean in 1952-53 and dean from 1953 to 1955; K. Roald Bergethon, acting dean in 1955-56 and dean from 1956 to 1958, who went to Lafayette College; Charles H. Watts II ’47, dean from 1958 to 1962, who became president of Bucknell; and Robert W. Morse, dean from 1962 to 1964, who became president of Case Western Reserve University.
In 1964 the Corporation created the post of Dean of the University again and Merton P. Stoltz was named to the office. President Keeney explained that “Dean Stoltz will work with me on those aspects of the University that relate directly to education and the substance of research. ... The intention is not to interpose Dean Stoltz between the President and the Deans and the Faculty, but to juxtapose him beside the President in order to extend the competence of that office.”
In 1965 at a junior convocation President Barnaby Keeney in a speech on campus communication had occasion to discuss the function of deans. The occasion was an appeal to the Corporation, charging “lack of communication,” by students who were dissatisfied with the response of the president and deans to their campaign to have parietal rules liberalized. Keeney said, “the business of the Deans is to form and administer the rules for activities, the curriculum, and other matters of business relating to the students. I see the Deans quite frequently, some of them every day. They tell me what they have in mind, and they usually tell me what other people have in mind.... the Deans, in effect, stand between the President and the students. Generally speaking, the Deans are apt to have a more liberal point of view than the President, if only because they are likely to be younger, and to sympathize more with students, if only because they are more thoroughly involved with them. ... Be kind to your Deans; they are good Deans, and there is a lot of good wear left in them. Do not attempt to undermine their position between you and the President, but rather sympathize with them, for both of the layers between which they are ground can be very nasty indeed.”
Robert O. Schulze was the Dean of the College from 1964 to 1968, followed by F. Donald Eckelmann from 1968 to 1971. The position of Dean of the College was reestablished in 1974 with Thomas F. Bechtel, who had been Dean of Counseling, as acting dean, followed by Walter Massey from 1975 to 1979, Harriet Sheridan from 1979 to 1987, Sheila Blumstein from 1987 to 1997, Nancy Dunbar from 1998 through December 2000, and Paul Armstrong from January 2001 through June 2006. Katherine Bergeron served as dean from July 2006 through December 2013, when she became president of Connecticut College. [Updated October 17, 2013]
Maurice Glicksman occupied two deanships at the same time. An engineer and physicist who had been on the faculty since 1969 and had served as chairman of the Faculty Policy Group, he was appointed Dean of the Graduate School in 1974, and in 1975 was also named Acting Dean of the Faculty and Academic Affairs, succeeding Jacqueline A. Mattfeld, who had held that position since 1974, and had previously been Dean of Academic Affairs from 1971 to 1974. Glicksman served in both capacities until he was named Provost and Dean of the Faculty in 1978. John Quinn was Dean of the Faculty from 1986 to 1989, followed by Thomas J. Anton in 1990-1991, and Bryan E. Shepp since 1991.
The office of Dean of Freshmen was created in 1922 and held by William Russell Burwell from 1922 to 1926, and Kenneth O. Mason from 1926 until his death in 1930. The office of Dean of Students was held by Bruce M. Bigelow from 1943 to 1946, Robert W. Kenny from 1946 to 1947, Edward R. Durgin to 1952 to 1962, and John M. Robinson from 1979 to 1988. James E. Dougherty was Dean of Student Affairs between 1970 and 1975. The office of Dean of Student Life was created in 1979 and held by Eric Widmer until 1988. John M. Robinson, who became Dean of Students in 1979, was Dean of Student Life from 1988 to 1990. Eric Widmer was acting dean from January to December of 1991, when Robin L. Rose was appointed.
Louis Franklin Snow was named first Dean of the Women’s College in 1892 and served until 1900, when Anne Crosby Emery was appointed. She resigned in 1905 to marry Professor Francis Greenleaf Allinson. Lida Shaw King, was dean from 1905 to 1922, and resigned because of illness. Anne Crosby Emery Allinson was acting dean in 1920-1921 and again in 1922-1923. In 1923 Margaret Shove Morriss was named Dean of the Women’s College. After the College was renamed in 1928 she was Dean of Pembroke College. Nancy Duke Lewis, who was acting dean in 1949-1950, succeeded Miss Morriss in 1950. Robert W. Kenny was acting dean during Miss Lewis’ illness in 1960-61, and Rosemary Pierrel was dean from 1961 until the office was discontinued in 1971, when Pembroke College was merged with Brown University.
Carl Barus, the first Dean of the Graduate Department from 1903 to 1926, was succeeded in that position for one year by Roland G. D. Richardson, who was then the Dean of the Graduate School until 1949. From 1947 to 1949 Curt J. Ducasse was acting dean. The Deans of the Graduate School since that time have been Barnaby C. Keeney from 1949 to 1953, Robert Bruce Lindsay from 1954 to 1966, Michael J. Brennan from 1966 to 1974, Maurice Glicksman from 1974 to 1976, and Ernest S. Frerichs from 1976 to 1982. Edmund S. Morgan was acting dean in 1951-1952, and Donald F. Hornig in 1952-1953. The title of the office was changed in 1983 to Dean of the Graduate School and Research, and has been held by Mark B. Schupack from 1983 to 1986 and by Phillip J. Stiles since 1986.