Robert Maynard Hutchins


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(1899–1977), graduated from Yale (1921) and was successively secretary of the university, professor in the law school (1927), and dean of the law school (1928). As president of the University of Chicago (1929–45) and its chancellor (1945–51), he reorganized the administration and abolished compulsory courses and the conventional grading system. In The Higher Learning in America (1936), No Friendly Voice (1936), Speaking of Education (1940), Education for Freedom (1943), and Morals, Religion, and Higher Education (1950) he stated his theory that education devoted to “the accumulation of observed facts” of science is anti-intellectual. He advocated the study of basic texts in the history of ideas, and concentration on basic abstractions, through “rational analysis which is logically prior to the empirical observations involved.”

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.