Wayne State University Presidents' Collections at the Reuther Library

Allan Gilmour will be inaugurated as the eleventh president of Wayne State University this Friday, April 15, 2011. On this occasion the Reuther Library showcases its Presidential collections. The University Archives is the repository for the working papers of faculty members, academic departments, and administrators of Wayne State University, and our collections include records pertaining to the administrations of the first ten presidents of the University.

Frank Cody, 1933-1942

Frank Cody, the first president of Wayne University, was superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools from 1919 until 1942. When, in 1933, the Detroit Board of Education united Detroit's city colleges into the Colleges of the City of Detroit, Cody was appointed first president of the colleges while remaining superintendent of schools. In 1934 the colleges were renamed Wayne University in honor of the Revolutionary War general, Anthony Wayne. Frank Cody retired from the Detroit Public School system in 1942 to become a Detroit city councilman. The Reuther Library holds files concerning Cody and his role in the consolidation of the city colleges, including the records of Wilford Coffey, dean of the College of the City of Detroit from 1928 until 1933.

Warren E. Bow, 1942-1945

Warren Bow, deputy superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools at the time of Frank Cody's retirement, was appointed by the Board of Education to replace Cody as superintendent and president of Wayne University. Bow died in office in 1945. His presidential papers are open for research at the Reuther Library.

David D. Henry, 1945-1952

David Henry joined Wayne University in 1936 as a professor of English. By 1945, Henry was the University's executive vice president; he was appointed by the Board of Education to fill the vacancy left by Warren Bow's death. Henry resigned from Wayne University in 1952 to become the executive vice chancellor of New York University, and he later served as president of the University of Illinois. Henry's presidential papers are stored at the Reuther Library and are available for research.

Clarence B. Hilberry, 1952-1965

Clarence Hilberry, a professor of English and dean of administration at Wayne University, was appointed acting president when David Henry resigned in 1952. After a year-long search, the Detroit Board of Education appointed Hilberry president in 1953; he was the fourth president of Wayne, and the first to have a formal inauguration. In 1956, Wayne University became a state university, the Detroit Board of Education was replaced as its governing body by a Board of Governors elected by a state-wide ballot, and the institution was renamed Wayne State University. Hilberry resigned in 1965 and died a year later. The Reuther Library holds Hilberry's papers, the largest presidential collection in the University Archives.

William R. Keast, 1965-1971

William Rea Keast, fifth president of the University, was the first president to be recruited from outside of the institution. Before coming to Wayne State University in 1965, he had been Vice President of Academic Affairs at Cornell University. He retired from Wayne State in 1971 and joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin. Keast held the presidency at an eventful time for Detroit and American universities, and the issues he faced are reflected in his presidential papers, open to researchers at the Reuther Library.

George E. Gullen, Jr., 1971-1978

George Gullen, an alumnus of Wayne State University, served ten years as a vice president of American Motors Corporation before joining the University as Vice President of University Relations in 1966. He was named acting president in 1971 and was appointed president in 1972. Gullen retired in 1978 and died in 1982. His presidential files, not yet arranged or described, are nonetheless available to our researchers; there are also transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with E. Burrows Smith and Robert Hubbard discussing the presidency of George Gullen.

Thomas N. Bonner, 1978-1982

Thomas Bonner was president of the University of New Hampshire and Union College before arriving at Wayne State University in 1978. He resigned in 1982 to teach in the University's Department of History, and retired from the University in 1987. Bonner's papers are unprocessed but open for research. An oral history interview with Bonner, discussing the events of his presidency, has been transcribed and is available to researchers at the Reuther Library.

David Adamany, 1982-1997

David Adamany was the eighth and longest-serving president of Wayne State University. Before his appointment in 1982, he was Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland. Adamany retired from the presidency in 1997 and became a faculty member of Wayne State University's College of Law; in 2000 he became the president of Temple University. Adamany's papers in the Reuther Library are restricted, but open for research under some circumstances.

Irvin Reid, 1997-2008

Irvin Reid, ninth president of the University, was also its first African-American president. Prior to his appointment, he was president of Montclair State University. Reid announced his resignation after holding the presidency of Wayne State University for ten years; after stepping down in 2009, he now holds the post of Distinguished Professor in the School of Business Administration. Reid's presidential papers in the Reuther Library are restricted but open for research under some circumstances.

Jay Noren, 2008-2010

Before replacing Irvin Reid as president of Wayne State University, Jay Noren had served as an administrator at state universities in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas. Noren resigned the post in 2010. The Reuther Library currently holds papers pertaining to Noren's 2008 inauguration; these files are open to researchers.

Please contact the University Archivist for access to these collections, or for more information about the past presidents of Wayne State University.

Casey Westerman is the Wayne State University Archivist.