William E. Kerstetter, 1962-1975
DePauw's Sixteenth President
With the advice of a joint faculty-trustee committee the board of trustees conducted a presidential search that led to the election of William E. Kerstetter in 1963. A graduate of Dickinson College, he possessed both the S.T.B. and Ph.D. from Boston University, making him the eighth DePauw president in succession to have been educated at that institution. The new president was an ordained Methodist minister but had spent almost his whole career in college teaching and administration, having been a professor of philosophy at Hamline College before becoming president of Simpson College.
Shortly after his arrival on campus President Kerstetter took up the challenge of the unfinished Greater DePauw Program by persuading the trustees to launch a much more ambitious campaign to raise $30 million in 10 years. Called Design for a Decade, this campaign was led by a steering committee of DePauw trustees and other supporters headed by John Burkhart of Indianapolis.
At the end of the first five years contributions in cash and pledges reached a total of $23 million, including a contingency grant of $2 million from the Ford Foundation. Moreover, in 1966 the board of trustees finally reversed a long-held position by voting to adopt a "policy of accepting, selectively, federal funds in support of the general program of the university." As a result the university applied for and received a $2,396,454 federal allocation covering one-third of the cost of a new science building, an action unprecedented in the history of the privately-funded institution.
A primary objective of the Kerstetter administration was to modernize and expand the university's physical facilities. This entailed the purchase of scores of residential properties covering several city blocks south of Hanna Street to make room for projected buildings. The cost of this far-sighted move exceeded $1 million and was written into the construction budgets of the buildings to be erected there. Besides enlarging the campus considerably, the administration also took a special interest in its beautification, carrying out an extensive landscaping effort that won the university national recognition.
The first new building erected was Hogate Hall, a women's dormitory named for two alumni, the late Kenneth C. Hogate and his widow, Anne Hogate Hamlet. The latter had contributed $1 million to the Design for a Decade and also made DePauw the beneficiary of another $1 million in her will. Located on land already owned by the university near the Dells on South Locust Street, Hogate Hall was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Holabird and Root in an unusual accordian-like configuration that set the building apart from other campus structures. Its attractive brick, stone, and glass walls enclosed a lounge, reception area, and kitchen and dining facilities on the first floor, with 24 six-person suites in place of the usual rows of double rooms in its two upper stories. The new, air-conditioned dormitory opened for occupancy in the fall of 1968, providing upperclass independent women with some of the best living arrangements on campus as well as a focus for non-sorority oriented activities.
In seeking and obtaining grants from private foundations and the federal government, the administration was faced with the task of redefining the university's relationship with the United Methodist Church. In 1968 the board of trustees agreed to a partial revision of the longstanding arrangements for the oversight of the university that emphasized its nonsectarian stance without disavowing the historical ties with Indiana Methodism. The amended by-laws reduced the number of trustees from 40 to 33, with nine (counting the bishop of the Indiana area) elected by the Indiana conferences of the Methodist Church, eight by the alumni, and the remaining 16 by the board of trustees itself. The board of visitors, which was composed of nine delegates from the Indiana conferences and had already lost most of its importance, was eliminated, further reducing the official Methodist representation in the university's governing body.
The $1,736,000 cost of Hogate Hall was amortized over 20 years in order to conserve funds for other purposes, including paying off the remaining construction debts for the Memorial Student Union Building, the Roy O. West Library, the Art Center, and the Faculty Office Building. The next major project was the construction of a modern facility to replace the obsolete Minshall Laboratory. Designed by Holabird and Root as a massive concrete-and-brick block with a cantilevered upper story and a broad, open-air deck, the new science and mathematics center was completed in 1972 at a cost of $7,299,000. The main floor contained a theatre-style auditorium, classrooms, the Edgar A. Prevo Science Library, and a large Computer Center, with faculty offices, seminar rooms, and laboratories on the two upper floors.
In addition to housing the departments of mathematics and astronomy, chemistry, physics, and geology and geography, it provided office space for the School of Nursing and the Bureau of Testing and Research. In 1982 the building was rededicated as the Julian Science and Mathematics Center in honor of the distinguished DePauw alumnus and industrial chemist, Percy L. Julian.
In 1973 it was decided to terminate the Design for a Decade campaign with about $3 million remaining to be raised. In its place was launched a Second Design for a Decade drive with a goal of $69 million. Alumnus and trustee Fred C. Tucker, Jr. was named to head the new campaign, which in the next five years made considerable progress toward its objective.
Among physical plant improvements carried out at this time was the complete refurbishing of the interior of McKim Observatory and the installation of a motor-driven aluminum dome to replace the original hand-operated iron one. The 90 year-old building was eventually placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The question of what to do about an even older structure, East College, posed a serious problem for the university. It was long debated whether to raze or restore the physically weakened building, which was in imminent need of expensive repairs. A strong wave of alumni support for retaining the memory-laden campus monument along with its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 turned the tide in favor of restoration, which was finally accomplished at the beginning of the next decade.
In October 1975 Kerstetter resigned from the presidency and was appointed to the long-dormant position of chancellor, with responsibilities chiefly for development and fund raising.