Albion Interactive History / People / William Whitcomb Whitehouse

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People / Albion College

William Whitcomb Whitehouse, 1891
10th President, 1945-1960

 
     Died October 31, 1983

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Accomplishments as President

Biographical Information

  • October 28, 1891, born in Yorkshire, England
  • 1913, came to the United States
  • 1916, A.B. degree from Lebanon (Ohio) University
  • 1916, Ordainined to ministry in the Methodist Epsicopal Church
  • 1917, B.D. degree from Garrett Biblical Institution, Evanston, IL
  • 1917, Educational director, Camp Custer
  • 1919, A.M. from Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin
  • 1922, Th.D., from Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, New Jersey
  • 1922-1929, Professor of Economics at Albion College
  • 1927, Ph.D., from Northwestern University
  • 1929-1939, Dean of Albion College
  • 1939, gave the John C. Shaffer lectures at Northwestern University
  • 1939-1945, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Wayne University
  • 1944, appeared on the Town Hall series in Milwaukee
  • 1945-1960, President of Albion College
  • October 31, 1983, died

Born in 1891 in Yorkshire, England, after immigrating to the United States, William Whitcomb Whitehouse distinguished himself as a student, Professor of Economics, Dean of Albion College and Wayne University, and president of Albion College.

A graduate of Lebanon University in Ohio, Dr. Whitehouse received his doctor of philosophy degree from Northwestern University in 1927, while serving as Professor of Economics at Albion. Two years later he was promoted to the Dean of Albion, a position he served in for ten years from 1929-1939.

From that time he served as an active lecturer, participant and leader in state and national education groups, and as a contributor to educational periodicals. He was instrumental in the installation of a student guidance system at Albion.

In 1938 he accepted the invitation of Northwestern University to lecture at Evanston on Christian philosophy under terms of the John C. Shaffer Foundation fund. He hs appeared on various occasions at the University of Michigan, Michigan State College, the University of Illinois, and Purdue University.

He is a member of the committee on international relations of the National Education Association and was formerly secretary of the Michigan North Central Association of College. His affiliations within the state include: trustee, Michigan State Tuberculosis Association; trustee, Michigan Children’s Village; board member, Michigan Health League; and board member, Michigan Council of Churches.

Prior to the onset of American involvement in World War II, Whitehouse planned to have taken a sabbatical leave from Albion, to sail around the world studying sociological conditions. These plans were foiled by the war.

For six years he served as the Dean of Liberal Arts at Wayne University (today Wayne State University) in Detroit. From 1939-1945 he served in this capacity, making many important connections, particularly with Stanley Kresge and the Kresge Foundation, that would have a major impact on his presidency at Albion College.

Whitehouse left Wayne University in 1945 to become president of Albion College, replacing outgoing president John L. Seaton who had served for 21 years prior, leading Albion through the Great Depression and World War II, while also raising the academic standards of the school under these difficult conditions.

Whitehouse continued this track record of success. Accomplishments include construction of a new residential hall Seaton Hall (1949), a new student center and dining facility Baldwin Hall (1951), and construction of Goodrich Chapel (1958) to replace the old Methodist Church on Erie and Ionia Street.

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower named Whitehouse to the President’s Committee on Scientists and Engineers, and in 1958 he was elected president of the Association of American Colleges.

A 1960 article in the Battle Creek Enquirer at the time of his retirement as president titled “Horatio Alger Story at Albion, Dr. W.W. Whitehouse Was English Emigrant 45 Years Ago”, Whitehouse is quoted as saying about the culture of his time, “I am not nostalgic for the ‘good old days; but I deplore what I think can be termed listlessness on the part of many people who really do care. There is not enough demand, for instance, for good entertainment on the part of those who do appreciate it. Not enough of us take the time to speak up against the crime shows on TV or rock and roll music.” The article went on to illustrate his human side, including how he would often go to downtown Albion in the morning for a morning coffee and discussion with town residents.

Following his retirement as president the college built a house for him halfway between the college and downtown along the mill race on Erie Street.

He died at the age of 92 in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida on October 31, 1983. Survivors included his wife, Adele; a son, Keith; a daughter, Joyce Douglas; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. His body was cremated and a private burial service was held for his family at Riverside Cemtery in Albion.

At the time of his death he was remembered at Albion College through creation of a found established by the college for the Whitehouse CEnter for the Study of Ethics (now defunct), a nature center, and a dormitory Whitehouse Hall. The dormitory is the third section of a set of three buildings he helped to construct including Seaton Hall named after his predecessor and Baldwin Hall named after a college trustee and representative of the Kresge Foundation.


Adele Whitehouse acccepting a citation for her active role as the president’s wife.


Investiture ceremony in April 1946, climaxing in the innauguration of President William W. Whitehouse.


“Will and Adele” welcome guests at the reception following the innauguration.


Dr. and Mrs. Howard Baldwin (left) and Dr. and Mrs. Stanley Kresge (right) host President and Mrs. William W. Whitehouse at a tribute dinner in Detroit.


Dean William W. Whitehouse

Source: Isaac Kremer. October 2003.

Dr. William W. Whitehouse, dean of Albion College since 1929, began his new duties as dean of the liberal arts college at Wayne University, September 18. He replaced Dr. Albertus Darnell, who retired July 1.

A graduate of Lebanon University, in Ohio, Dr. Whitehouse received his doctor of philosophy degree from Northwestern University in 1927, while serving as professor of economics at Albion. Two years later he was promoted to the Albion deanship and has since been active as a lecturer, as pariticpant and leader in state and national education groups, and as a contributor to educational periodicals. He was instrumental in the installation of a student guidance system at Albion.

In 1938 he accepted the invitation of Northwestern University to lecture at Evanston on Christian philosophy under terms of the John C. Shaffer Foundation fund. He hs appeared on various occasions at the University of Michigan, Michigan State College, the University of Illinois, and Purdue University.

He is a member of the committee on international relations of the National Education Association and was formerly secretary of the Michigan North Central Association of College. His affiliations within the state include: trustee, Michigan State Tuberculosis Association; trustee, Michigan Children’s Village; board member, Michigan Health League; and board member, Michigan Council of Churches.

He was to have taken a sabbatical leave from Albion for this semester and planned, until international difficulties developed, to sail around the world studying sociological conditions. He has a wife, son, and daughter.

Source: Wayne State University, Office of Communications, “DR. WHITEHOUSE NAMED DEAN AT WAYNE U”

Dr. William W. Whitehouse will retire next year as president of Albion college after more than 30 years service with the school.

Dr. Whitehouse, 67, announced his retirement plans Sunday. He has been Albion’s president since 1945 and had been a faculty member since 1919 except for a six-year period at Wayne State university. His retirement will become effective Sept. 1, 1960.

Albion’s new president will be Dr. Louis W. Norris, president of McMurray’s college of Jacksonville, Il., according to Howard C. Lawrence of Grand Rapids, president of the board of trustees.

Dr. Whitehouse’s announcement of his retirement followed a statement from Dr. Norris that he had accepted an invitation to become Albion’s president.

A native of England, Dr. Whitehouse formerly was a professor of sociology and college dean at Albion.

Source: Grand Rapids Press, “Prexy Quits at Albion, Dr. Whitehouse Served 30 Years,” October 19, 1959

Five months ahead of deadline, Albion College has successfully met the $750,000 challenge grant issued by the Kresge Foundation in April 1971, President Bernard T. Lomas announced Friday at a gathering of Albion College alumni and friends in Bay View, Michigan.

According to terms of the challenge the college had to raise $750,000 in endowment funds before Dec. 31, 1972, to receive a matching gift of $750,000 from the Kresge Foundation. The combined funds are to be used toward the establishment of a $1.5 million William Whitcomb Whitehouse Endowment for Ethics and Culture.

Among the contributions which helped the college meet the Kresge challenge were a $200,000 grant from the Herrick Foundation, Detroit; the $277,460 raised by Project 250, a student campaign to raise $250,000 for scholarship endowment; and approximately $75,000 from Dr. and Mrs. Stanley S. Kresge personally.

The college has received a letter of congratulations from William H. Baldwin, president of the Kresge Foundation, for meeting the Kresge challenge five months ahead of schedule. Baldwin has advised that the $500,000 first installment of the challenge grant will be paid about Sept. 15, and the rent about Jan. 1, 1973.

The challenge grant was announced by Dr. Stanley S. Kresge to honor Albion’s eighth president, Dr. William W. Whitehouse. Because of Dr. Whitehouse’s reknown as an Albion professor and scholar, and because the hallmark of distinguished institutions always has been exemplified by eminent teachers like Dr. Whitehouse, the college is creating a permanent endowment to attract and retain extraordinarily gifted faculty and students. Only the income from the endowment will be used.

When Dr. William W. Whitehouse retired as Albion’s president in 1960 he ended a formal relationship spanning nearly half a century. He joined the faculty in 1922, was dean of Albion College from 1929 to 1939, was dean of liberal arts at Wayne State University from 1939 to 1945 and was then named president of Albion.

He received honorary degrees from the University of Michigan, Wayne State, Michigan State, and Ohio Wesleyan Universities, and Albion and Adrian Colleges.

The late President Dwight D. Eisenhower named him to the President’s Committee on Scientists and Engineers, and in 1958 he was elected president of the Ass’n of American Colleges.

Dr. Kresge, chairman of the board of the Kresge Foundation, is an Albion Honorary Trustee, a 1923 Albion College graduate, and a long-time friend of Dr. Whitehouse.

Source: Albion Evening Recorder, “College Meets $750,000 Challenge Grant,” August 19, 1972

Former Albion College President William Whitcomb Whitehouse died Monday in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla. He was 92.

Dr. Whitehouse, a native of Yorkshire, England, was named president of the college in 1945 after serving a six-year stint as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne University (now Wayne State). He retired in 1960.

He first came to Albion in 1922 as a teacher of economics and sociology, and was dean of the college from 1929 to 1939.

Dr. Whitehouse held five degrees, including doctorates from Northwestern University and Drew University. He served on President Eisenhower’s Committee on Scientists and Engineers, and was president of the Association of American Colleges in 1958.

Survivors include his wife, Adele; a son, Keith; a daughter, Joyce Douglas; give grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. His body was cremated and a private service will be held for the family.

Contributions are being accepted for a fund established by the college for the Whitehouse Center for the Study of Ethics, to be opened next year as part of Albion’s sesquicentennial celebration. A nature center and a dormitory at Albion already bear his name.

Source: Detroit News, “William Whitehouse, Ex-Albion College president,” November 4, 1983

The story of Dr. W.W. Whitehouse, who retires this year as president of Albion College, has something of an Horatio Alger success story about it.

This gentleman, a leader in the field of education on the national scene as well as on this campus, has a considerable list of achievements to his credit. In 1958 he was named president of the Association of American Colleges; he has been a member of President Eisenhower’s Committee on Scientists and Engineers; he is chairman of the board of trustees of the Citizens Research Council in Michigan and has been on the executive committee of the Michigan White House conference on Education.

Yet some 45 years ago he was a young English emigrant in America, filled with ambition, a considerable inner need for education and a firm religious conviction, but with little money.

Of the ensuing years he has this to say, “I haven’t a frustration. I’ve been able to do many things and accomplish much of what I set out to do, as God led me into them. Some of the expedients to success were rugged at times but I suppose they all helped in making a better individual of me.”

During his years as a student, financed by his own abilities and earnings, he aimed at the ministry. Among his first jobs in this country was being a preacher to a circuit of churches, including Indian missions, in the Sault Ste. Marie area.

AB Degree in 1916

This was before he took himself off to college, and endeavor to which he aspired even though he had not been able to remain through preparatory schools in his native country. Nonetheless he passed entrance examinations and subsequently ghot his bachelors degree from Lebanon University in Ohio in 1916. He was ordained that year but his aspirations for education continued.

He spent a year at Garrett Bible Institute, earned his masters degree from Lawrence College in Wisconsin and went on to Drew Theological Seminary for his doctorate in theology. During these years he earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

It was that fall that he entered the Albion scene as an instructor in economics. By 1929 he not only was teaching but he also was dean of the college, dean of men and acted as registrar.

Earned his doctorate in philosophy at Northwestern University in 1927.

Although he has not been a “practicing teacher” for some years, the role of teacher remains as one of Dr. Whitehous’s favorites. A course in the family was one of his particular prizes and he points with justifiable pride to a handbook of his own preparation entitled, “Promoting Normal Homes.”

Had Help

Dr. Whitehouse spent from 1939 to 1945 in Detroit as dean of the liberal arts school at Wayne University. His accomplishments for Alkbion College, since returning here as president at the end of World War II, have been made possible, he says, by “the help of God and the many, many friends of Albion.”

“I think the young people here today are fine! I think they are more mature and world wise but this, I think arises from our more complex society.

“As a liberal arts college our curriculum has not seen the many changes some other campuses have had. To be suire, there has been an expansion in the science fields and more courses of study are offered. There have been progressive changes here, that’s the best way to put it,” he remarked.

He voices considerable concern, however, about the cultural condition of the country generally. “I am not nostalgic for the ‘good old days; but I deplore what I think can be termed listlessness on the part of many people who really do care. There is not enough demand, for instance, for good entertainment on the part of those who do appreciate it. Not enough of us take the time to speak up against the crime shows on TV or rock and roll music,” the educator said.

From all indications his retirement years will continue full and busy for he plans to continue participating in many education and business pursuits. “I’m looking forward to this immensely. I plan to continue lecturing and I also have some writing to do,” he said.

He and Mrs. Whitehouse will be living in Albion and the college is building a home for their use on the millstream off East Erie street.

Their association here includes a wide range of friends, town as well as gown. A morning coffee break oftentimes finds Dr. Whitehouse in a downtown restaurant where he’s respected and liked, not only as college president, but as a pleasant and genuine person.

Source: Carolyn Huvendick, Battle Creek Enqirer and News, “Horatio Alger Story at Albion, Dr. W. W. Whitehouse Was English Emigrant 45 Years Ago,” March 20, 1960

This fall Dr. William Whitcomb Whitehouse Grad 27 became president of Albion College, Albion, Mich., succeeding John Lawrence Seaton who retired after serving as president for the past 21 years. Dr. Whitehouse resigned from the deanship of the Liberal Arts College of Wayne University, Detroit, which he has held since 1939, to return to Albion where he had served previously as dean from 1929 to 1939. Dr. David D. HJenry, president of Wayne University, stated recently that “the six years of Dean Whitehouse’s administration of the college have been filled with distincitive achievement.”

A graduate of Lebanon University. Dr. Whitehouse received his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern in 1927 and the BD. degree from Garrett Biblical Institute in 1917. His other degrees include M.A. from Lawrence College in 1919, and Th.D. from Drew Theological Seminary in 1922. Widely known as a lecturer, he gave the John C. Shaffer lectures at Northwestern in 1938 and last year appeared on the Town Hall series in Milwaukee.

Born in Yorkshire England, October 28, 1891
Came to US in 1913
AB Lebanon (Ohio) University, 1916
B.D., Garrett Biblical Institution, Evanston, Illinois, 1917
A.M., Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1919
Th.D, Drew Theological Semianry, Madison, New Jersey, 1922
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1927
Ordained to ministry, M.E. Church, 1916

Teaching Experience
Educational Director, Camp Custer, 1917
Professor Economics, Albion College, 1922-1929
Dean of Albion College, 1929-39
Dean of College of Liberal Arts, Wayne University since 1939
President of Albion College, 1945-1960

Source: David Henry files, Northwestern Alumni News, Vol XXV, No. 2, Nov. 15, 1945

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