John Lederle played a large role in shaping the Amherst campus as it looks today, transforming UMass Amherst into a nationally respected research university and “great public center for excellence in higher education.” Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Lederle received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1942. Admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1936, he worked with a Detroit law firm from 1936 to 1940 before joining the political science department at Brown University from 1941 to 1944. He returned to the University of Michigan in 1944, filling a number of positions until 1960, when the University of Massachusetts elected him President. Under Lederle’s leadership, the Amherst campus enjoyed its greatest period of growth. From 1960 to 1970, student enrollment more than tripled and faculty salaries nearly doubled. The academic program expanded greatly, particularly at the graduate level, and under his watch, the university instituted an academic press, a public radio station, and collaborative arrangements between the local colleges. The University system also evolved in the Lederle years, with the establishment of the Boston campus in 1964 and the medical school in Worcester in 1962.
The Lederle Papers include professional correspondence, administrative records, subject files, committee notes, reports, and clippings; Extra-University records that document Lederle’s involvement and interactions with governmental and non-governmental organizations at the state, regional, and national levels; personal correspondence, speeches, bibliographies of his writings, biographical information, a transcript of an oral history describing his administration, and materials relating to his professional activities that followed his presidency; and a series of confidential records.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
- Lederle, John William, 1912-