The University Record, March 11, 1998


Harlan H. Hatcher

President Emeritus Harlan H. Hatcher died Feb. 25 at age 99.

Tremendous expansion of the U-M marked Hatcher's term in office, which ran from 1951 to 1967.

From 17,000 students in 1951, enrollment jumped to 37,000 students in 1967. The budget increased from $44.5 million to more than $186 million in the same period. Shortly after he took office the University purchased land for North Campus and began development there. Regional campuses were established in Flint and Dearborn.

Among the numerous buildings completed on the Ann Arbor campus during Hatcher's years in office were the School of Music's Moore Building, the Institute for Social Research and the Undergraduate Library, which Hatcher identified as one of the major accomplishments of his tenure.

The Undergraduate Library's long hours and open shelf access were an innovation for academic libraries. Book circulation figures soared and more faculty members began to require wider reading by their students. "That revolutionized undergraduate training, as of that time," Hatcher said in a 1988 interview.

"President Hatcher had a noble bearing, a noble mind and a level of human courtesy unknown in our time," said President Lee C. Bollinger. "He presided over the University during one of its more formative stages. His name will always be mentioned in the same breath as Michigan."

"The years President Hatcher spent in expanding and strengthening the U-M immediately after World War II laid the groundwork for a new era," according to President Emeritus Robben W. Fleming.

"The result is a different institution: it is not only bigger, but more comprehensive in the way it serves both undergraduate and graduate students. The University and the state of Michigan owe Harlan Hatcher an immense debt of gratitude for the wisdom and grace that marked his presidency."

Before being named the University's eighth president in 1951, Hatcher was vice president at The Ohio State University (OSU). He also had been a professor of English at OSU and dean of its college of arts and sciences. His scholarly research focused on American literature and history, particularly of the Midwest, and he wrote several books on the Great Lakes region.

After his retirement, Hatcher kept active in numerous civic and cultural groups. He sat on the board of directors of the Center for the Great Lakes, which he described as "an international endeavor to save our lakes, to make them more useful and prosperous and to ensure their health." At the U-M, he remained interested in the workings of campus libraries and regularly attended classical music concerts.

Hatcher married Anne Gregory Vance in 1942. In addition to his wife, he is survived by son Robert, director of the Psychological Clinic and the Institute for Human Adjustment, and his wife Sherry; daughter Anne Berenberg; and four grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the University Library in Support of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, c/o University Library Development Office, Room 8076, Hatcher South, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1205.