University of Connecticut, President's Office Records [Homer D. Babbidge, 1962-1972]
Scope and Content
The President's Office records document the programs, politics and administration of the University of Connecticut during the presidency of Homer D. Babbidge, Jr., from 1962 to 1972.
- undated, 1962-1972
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Homer Daniels Babbidge, Jr. was born in 1925 in West Newton, Massachusetts, and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in 1945 with a degree in political science, and he subsequently earned his master's and doctoral degrees from the same university. He taught in Yale's Department of American Studies for several years and then become director of Financial Aid Division. From 1955 to 1961, he served at a variety of posts in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, eventually becoming director of the division of higher education.
Babbidge became president of the University of Connecticut in 1962 and remained in that office until he retired in 1972. His years in office were among the most productive, and the most turbulent, in the University's history. During the Babbidge decade, the library's collection grew to over one million volumes and the University's budget quadrupled from $20 million to $80 million. The student body increased by two-thirds to 23,154, and the number of full-time employees doubled to over 4,000.
Babbidge believed that as Connecticut's only publicly supported system of higher education that had the power to grant the doctorate, the University had a special responsibility to develop the best training it could. He demonstrated this commitment to graduate education in a number of ways. The Whetten Graduate Center and the Graduate Student Residences were both built during his administration, and he initiated graduate programs in social work and materials science. By the time Babbidge retired, the number of Ph.Ds awarded by the University had tripled.
Construction on the Storrs campus and at the branches continued under President Babbidge as it had under President Jorgensen. An annex to the Wilbur Cross Library was begun in 1962, and by 1965 the University High School, E. O. Smith, and Pharmacy research wings had been completed. In 1966, an addition to the Life Science Buildings was finished and work on Physics Building continued. Work on the Farmington Health Center and The Torrington and Hartford branches also continued during the 1960s.
The University moved forward in other areas as well. The first scholarship funds for black students were approved by the Board of Trustees in 1963, and in 1968 the first Black Studies classes were conducted. A pilot honors program was established, and alumni awards for outstanding teaching and research were initiated in 1964. In 1965, plans for an art museum in the “Old Beanery” were announced. The Ford Foundation grant-funded “Semester of the Thirties”, an experimental program of total immersion in the Depression decade, was an apparent success in the fall of 1968.
The Babbidge years were also turbulent, however. During 1967 and 1968, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) actively demonstrated on campus against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. A crisis developed on 26 November 1968. Demonstrators attempted to seize control of Gulley Hall where Olin-Mathieson was conducting recruitment interviews. Violence erupted, and President Babbidge was forced to call in 200 State Police. By the 1969/1970 school year, demonstrations had slowed, and by 1970/1971, tuition had replaced Vietnam as the most pressing student issue.
To the sorrow of students and faculty alike, President Babbidge resigned in 1972. Seven thousand students, faculty, and employees signed petition asking him to stay, to no avail. In his letter of resignation, Babbidge wrote, “These have been great years for me, and it is harder than I can say to bring them to a close. But in a sense, I am keeping a promise to myself; a promise made at a time when, from an objective vantage point, I saw clearly the need to view leadership in public affairs as a relay race, in which each man in his turn passes on the baton of leadership.”
Homer D. Babbidge died in 1984.
145.8 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Homer Daniels Babbidge was born in 1925 in Weston, Massachusetts, and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in 1945 with a degree in political science and subsequently earned his master's and doctorate from the same institution. Babbidge became president of the University of Connecticut in 1962 and remained in the office until his retirement in 1972. His years at UConn were among the most productive, and the most turbulent, in the University's history. Homer D. Babbidge died in 1984.
The records are divided into three series.
Series I: Correspondence (1962-1972) contains correspondence between President Babbidge and campus schools, offices, institutes and faculty committees; branch campuses; trustees; external education associations and organizations; foundations, and some individual faculty members. In addition to correspondence, this series includes memoranda, reports, newsletters, minutes, and other document types. The series contains information on most campus activities and concerns of Homer Babbidge's presidency. Subjects and correspondents include: athletics, budget, building proposals, curricula and courses, W. Harrison Carter, Connecticut legislature, educational television, faculty committees, financial aid to students, Edward V. Gant, Hartford Branch, Labor Education Center, the Brien McMahon Lecture Series, Metanoia, naming of buildings, salaries, selective services, E.O. Smith High School, Student Senate, Harleigh B. Trecker, University Foundation, University Senate, as well as many others. This series is organized chronologically by academic year. Within each year the correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name, organization or topic. Note that the filing is inconsistent: correspondence may be filed by an individual's name one year and by affiliated organization or department another year.
Series II: Campus Unrest (1968-1971) documents protest and activism at the University. Included is information on recruitment protests, such as Dow Chemical recruitment, the Moratorium, the Connecticut Resistance Movement (SDS), and letters and petitions of protests and support. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III: Wallace Moreland (1964-1972) contains the office files of the assistant to the president. These files support Series I with additional documentation of University activities and topics such as athletics, state legislature, the Loeb award, public radio and television, student unrest, and the North-End (Hartford) project. This series is arranged in two alphabetical sequences; the second is apparently later additions to the series.
The records were transferred from the President's office in three separate accessions between 1979 and 1981.
The following materials have been separated from the collection and cataloged:
Inauguration of Dr. Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. as President of University of Connecticut (1962) and Interviews with Dr. Homer D. Babbidge, Jr., President of the University of Connecticut (1962, 1964). These materials are only available in UMatic cassettes (reformatted from 16mm film). Contact the curator for further information.
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- University of Connecticut, President's Office Records [Homer D. Babbidge, 1962-1972]
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- 2011 June
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Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository
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