Home » Arts and Science NotebookFall 2009

Vanderbilt Mourns Passing of Former Chancellor Heard

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Alexander Heard, who served as Vanderbilt’s fifth chancellor, and guided the university from 1963 to 1982, died July 24 after a long illness. The chancellor emeritus was 92.

Under Heard’s leadership, Vanderbilt grew and prospered, as did the College of Arts and Science.

“During his tenure, Arts and Science increased enrollment, added more honors’ work, gained its first endowed chairs and grew in national status,” says Carolyn Dever, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “He presided over the largest faculty development effort in our history. Equally important, he helped establish a culture of collegiality among faculty, students, alumni, staff and administration that exists to this day.”

Personable and intelligent, Heard was known for his accessibility and responsiveness to students, sometimes supporting them in controversial issues that put him at odds with his advisors or members of the Board of Trust.

A giant in his field, Heard was the recipient of 27 honorary degrees from various colleges and universities over the years. He also served as an advisor to three U.S. presidents.

Donations in his honor may be made to the Alexander Heard Memorial Fund at Vanderbilt.

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