Chancellor Gustavson

  Reuben Gustavson became the University chancellor in 1946 and had turned the university around after its suffering of depression and war. He also encouraged the university to join the nation’s trend at the time and become a research centers using the federal funding. He was the first dean to have direct responsibility for all divisions of his college. “Research is the last frontier of American life.”

During his first year in office, he made 400 speeches. He took his university to the people. He was well known and respected by both the student body and the faculty. He treated the students as adults and always ready to talk to anybody. The faculty welcomed him since he consulted with them with new ideas bought to the University. However, they had only admired his intelligence and honesty and found him impolitic.

He was a liberal in a conservative state, which indeed caused some concern from people and frightened some timid Nebraskans. The case “The Certain Professor” showed some of this issue.

One of the major battles of his administration was academic. By 1950, the confrontation between the method and the subject-matter (D.Ed Controversy) became hostile. In 1953, he resigned to become president of Resources for the Future. He left feeling bitter that his authority had been circumscribed, byt extramural bodies and regents who built a sports program contrary to his principles, and by a faculty who had refused his desire to resolve the conflict between the Teachers College and the College of Arts and Sciences.