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Hutchins notes, 1962

Robert M. Hutchins, "The Limits of a General Education," notes, April 11, 1962. When Hutchins was invited back to campus to speak in the "Aims of Education" series, he reflected on some of the goals he head envisioned for the University.

Robert Maynard Hutchins

1899-1977
Millions of dollars in government contracts poured in to support specialized training programs for military personnel in languages, radio technology, and meteorology, and for research vital to the war effort. The Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb was only one of many projects operating on the University campus during the war years.

By 1944 Hutchins again began preaching for peace, and the atomic bomb made his message all the more urgent. After the war he joined in the efforts of the Committee to Frame a World Constitution to push for a world government, yet another appearance of Hutchins's resilient idealism.

Hutchins was a strong advocate of academic freedom, and as always refused to compromise his principles. Faced with charges in 1935 by drugstore magnate Charles Walgreen that his niece had been indoctrinated with communist ideas at the University, Hutchins stood behind his faculty and their right to teach and believe as they wished, insisting that communism could not withstand the scrutiny of public analysis and debate. He later became friends with Walgreen and convinced him to fund a series of lectures on democracy. When the University faced charges of aiding and abetting communism again in 1949, Hutchins steadfastly refused to capitulate to red-baiters who attacked faculty members.

Hutchins resigned in 1951 to become an associate director of the recently-created Ford Foundation. In 1954 he took over chairmanship of the Foundation's Fund for the Republic, which sponsored research on civil rights issues including blacklisting of Hollywood actors and freedom of the press. After many years of planning, in 1959 he was able to initiate the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Located on an estate near Santa Barbara, California, the Center offered daily programs where senior residents could meet with invited guests in small groups to study position papers and engage in informal discussions. In its broad scope and open agenda, the Center embodied the hopes and ideals to which Hutchins had dedicated his career.


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