Robert M. Hutchins: Portrait of an Educator

Mary Ann Dzuback, Author University of Chicago Press $24.95 (404p) ISBN 978-0-226-17710-6
This interesting if somewhat pedestrian book examines the University of Chicago's most famous president and his two missions: Hutchins's ``stand on academic freedom'' and his ``challenge to examine and reexamine the ends of educational institutions.'' Dzuback, professor of education at Washington University in Missouri, astutely observes how the ``evangelical culture'' of Hutchins's ``quasi-religious'' collegiate training at Oberlin relates to the ``mixed success'' he experienced as dean of Yale Law School and then as head of the University of Chicago: ``In effect, when Hutchins 1899-1977 argued for a liberal education . . . in the 1930s, he was arguing for a secular mission for the University of Chicago,'' a ``contemporary translation of Oberlin's nineteenth-century religious mission.'' While the author notes how Hutchins's ``typical short-term commitment to the innovations he devised'' during his Chicago tenure (1929-1951) undercut those innovations, her book is full of admiration for the man, alternating between ``enormous respect for Hutchins and sheer mystification at his arrogance and stubborn adherence to a collection of ideas that seemed incompatible with the realities of twentieth-century higher educational institutions.'' (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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