Deans of Men and the Shaping of Modern College Culture by R. Schwartz

By R. Schwartz

Deans of guys in American schools and universities have been created within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries to aid deal with a growing to be scholar inhabitants. The early deans usually had a character that allowed them to interact simply with scholars. through the years, many deans observed their places of work bring up in dimension and accountability. The career grew slowly yet by means of the 1940’s drew numerous hundred males to annual meetings and plenty of extra have been contributors. Deans of fellows and girls have been major figures for college kids; many scholars observed them because the “face” of the varsity or college. Schwartz strains the position and paintings of the deans and the way they controlled the swiftly becoming tradition of the yankee university campus in the twentieth century.   

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The rumor, of course, around the campus was that Thomas Arkle Clark had a spy 40 D e a n s of M e n a n d Mode r n C ol l e ge C u lt u r e ring, and that had never been documented, but I don’t know that it had ever been completely denied either. It was my last semester in school, in May, two weeks, maybe three weeks away from my degree. It cost my father another semester’s education. Very unfair, in retrospect, a horrible penalty for such a relatively minor infraction, in my opinion! In any event, Thomas Arkle Clark was a feared dean.

But for those who crossed his path or violated university rules, Clark was a formidable enemy. Clark mounted a one-man crusade against bootleg liquor, wanton women, and gambling, all of which were readily available in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, in the 1920s. A dues-paying member of the local temperance league, Clark used his fraternity contacts as a source of information to uncover some of the illegal activities on campus. In the flush of a quiet confrontation in the Dean’s office, faced with expulsion or at the least, a disciplinary sanction of some sort, many a young man capitulated and blurted out information to the Dean.

His parents’ early deaths no doubt exacerbated these concerns. Over time, Clark grew to be a healthy, young man but he remained thin throughout his life. This hardscrabble beginning, according to Clark, became his early training for his work as dean of men. By his own account, “Suddenly, without any warning at all, my father died . . I had at once the responsibility of being the head of the house, and looking after Mother, who was at that time sixty-five years of age. . . 4 Clark valued his adopted parents and siblings.

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