Cornelis de Kiewiet

Photograph of Cornelis de Kiewiet
Cornelis de Kiewiet served as our fifth president from 1951 to 1961. He came to Rochester from the acting presidency of Cornell University. De Kiewiet's years at Rochester saw a number of changes, including the merger of the undergraduate campuses and the creation of three new colleges: Education (now the Margaret Warner School of Education and Human Development) Engineering (now the College of Engineering and Applied Science), and Business Administration (now the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration). 

An invitation to President de Kiewiet's inauguration ceremony. As part of the inauguration proceedings, the new President is presented with the University Charter (which is currently on display in Rare Books and Special Collections, on the second floor of the Library), and the official Seal of the University, to be used on diplomas and other official documents. Presidents Rhees, Valentine, and de Kiewiet also received medals bearing the seal of the University. 

In his inaugural address, de Kiewiet wrote of the three priorities a university must pursue; the most important one being the "obligation to relate both knowledge and technology to man's quest for dignity, peace, justice and good life -- all the qualities and aspiration which make man a spiritual as well as physical being." 

Cornelis de Kiewiet and his twin brother were born in the Netherlands, but were brought up and educated in South Africa. De Kiewiet was keenly aware of the wrongness of apartheid and lectured and wrote against it. 

President de Kiewiet wrote, "A university is never fully mature. It must grow and change, else it languishes and loses its place." His administration presided over the first large-scale fund raising effort for the University in almost thirty years. The effort was needed to expand facilities at the River Campus in preparation for the consolidation of the men's and women's colleges. 

A memorable hour has arrived," wrote Professor Emeritus John R. Slater of the merger of the undergraduate campuses. The undergraduate colleges for men and for women, which had been completely separate for  a quarter of a century, were merged on the River Campus in the fall of 1955. After many decades of coordinate education, the University was now "co-ed."