• U.S.

Education: New Chancellor for N.Y.U.

3 minute read

When New York University started looking around for a successor to Dr. Harry Woodburn Chase, the last thing it seemed to need was a builder. With 65,000 students on its rolls, N.Y.U. is the nation’s largest university;* with its new $5,000,000 law center, and the $25 million N.Y.U.-Bellevue Medical Center now being built, it is also one of the best equipped. But last week, N.Y.U. picked a builder just the same. Henry Townley Heald, 46, is a lanky (6 ft. 2 in.), slow-talking man who likes to work twelve hours a day, seven days a week. As president of the Illinois Institute of Technology, he has been working that way for the last 14 years—and working wonders to boot.

When he was promoted from dean to president in 1937, I.I.T. was called the Armour Institute of Technology. It was a dying campus with only half a dozen dilapidated buildings, seven acres and 400-odd students. The first thing Heald did was to expand his board of trustees, picking the wealthiest and most influential industrialists he could find. With solid financial backing behind him, he arranged a merger with Chicago’s Lewis Institute, changed the name of his campus to cover both schools. Soon he had 85 acres. He put up four new engineering buildings, a new heating plant. He set up an Institute of Gas Technology, a laboratory for the Association of American Railroads, built an apartment house for married students.

Enrollments jumped to over 7,000. The budget increased ninefold. The number of teachers and research scientists swelled to over 800, and I.I.T. began to climb to a secure place among the top dozen institutes of its kind in the U.S.

Henry Heald—an unassuming man who seldom got a chance to mingle with students—was forced to be more administrator than educator. Though he is a vocal believer in the liberal arts (“There are some problems that cannot be solved with a slide rule”), he has been mostly concerned with producing a”fraternity of professional men” of a very particular sort.

At N.Y.U., he will be producing everything from plumbers to poets, admen to advocates, bankers to businessmen. But his main job will be to keep things running smoothly in his huge new domain—14 schools and colleges, six campuses scattered from The Bronx to Wall Street, $18,500,000 in endowment (plus the annual profits from a macaroni factory), a 4,000-man faculty, and a yearly budget of $30,000,000.

*Including students enrolled part-time in night school and extension courses.

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