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Office of the President (Ryder) records

 Collection
Identifier: A019

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Office of the President (Ryder) comprise approximately 40 cubic feet of material and are arranged into four series: (1) Appointments, Correspondence, and Memoranda, (2) Colleges, Departments, and Other Units, (3) Committees, Councils, and Organizations, and (4) Subject Files. While the bulk of the collection documents Kenneth Gilmore Ryder's tenure as the fourth president of NU, 1975-1989, there are some records scattered throughout the collection created by his predecessor, Asa Smallidge Knowles (see A3).

The collection holds abundant information about NU's involvement with community affairs, particularly with the Boston Public Schools desegregation, in Series III, Subseries B and in Series IV. KGR was an active member on several local community committees that were formed to address the desegregation issue. Such organizations, which included the Citywide Coordinating Council [CCC] (Boxes 24-26, 93, 95-96, Folders 177-200, 796-799, 811, 831) and the Steering Committee of College Presidents (Boxes 39-40, 93, Folders 272-278, 801), oversaw the implementation of desegregation in the public schools. Additional materials regarding Boston Public Schools desegregation can be found in Boston Schools Involvement (Boxes 45-50, 94-95, Folders 332-361, 805, 816-817). The files on the Boston Public Schools include records, such as newsletters, reports, and correspondence, of the Urban Schools Collaborative Office (formerly Office of Phase II Programs), an NU unit established in 1976 to implement the University's relationship with the public schools.

For more information on other aspects of NU's community work, see Series II: Office of Community Affairs (Box 12, Folders 89-90); Series III, Subseries B files: Fenway Civic Association (Box 27, Folder 202) and Fenway Project Area Committee (Boxes 27-29, 95, Folders 203-217, 819); and Series IV files: Boston, City of (Boxes 43-44, 93, 95, Folders 304-320, 802-803, 812-813) Boston Housing Authority/Housing and Urban Development (Box 45, Folder 328); Boston Housing Authority Scholarship (Box 45, Folder 329); Housing and Urban Development Projects (Box 68, 94, Folders 563, 806); Mission Hill (Box 72, Folders 603-604); and Southwest Corridor (Boxes 81-83, 94-95, Folders 678-693, 808, 824-826). These files include correspondence, memoranda, policies, newsletters, minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, and notes.

The bulk of the collection is contained in Series IV. SUBJECT FILES.  Of special interest are KGR's writings (Box 91, Folders 789-792) and speeches (Box 83-85, 95-96, Folders 694-727, 827). Most of his speeches were delivered before non-NU constituencies. Some are recorded on audio cassettes. Information on KGR's ten-year anniversary [as president of NU] can be found in Boxes 63-64, 92, 95-96, Folders 515-521, 794-795, 818, 833 and materials on his testimonial dinner can be found in Boxes 76-79, Folders 646-659. These files include visual and audio recordings.

Series IV also contains information that document about KGR's trips to foreign countries, such as Israel (Box 88, Folder 758)and China (Box 50-51,96, Folders 367-383), to promote cooperative education and exchange programs. Materials include itineraries, reports, correspondence, and photographs. In addition, he attended several international conferences on cooperative education (Box 56, Folder 435). Also located in Series IV are awards and honors celebrating Ryder's many years of service to Northeastern and the Boston Community. One award of interest is the piece of the U.S.S. Constitution given to Ryder upon his election as a Lifetime Trustee Emeritus by the Northeastern University Corporation.

The files that are named after NU's individuals, such as Harry T. Allen (Box 42, Folder 295); Philip T. Crotty (Box 56, Folder 437); John A. Curry (Boxes 56-60, Folders 438-459); James S. Hekimian (Box 67, Folder 552); James S. King (Boxes 69-70, Folders 579-582); Melvin Mark (Boxes 70-71, Folders 585-589); Anthony Penna (Box 73, Folders 611-614); Daniel J. Roberts (Box 79, Folder 660); and Raymond Williams (Box 90, Folders 784-786), document KGR's planning meetings with these individuals, who held high administrative positions at NU.

Dates

  • 1955-2005

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

Records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office.

Historical Note

Kenneth Gilmore Ryder (KGR), the fourth president of NU from 1975-1989, began his career at Northeastern in 1949 as an instructor of history and government.  He was promoted to assistant professor in 1953 to associate professor in 1956. In the following year, KGR gave up his teaching responsibilities to assume a succession of administrative positions: Dean of Administration (1958-1966), Vice President of University Administration (1967-1970), and Executive Vice President (1971-1975). In 1975, KGR succeeded Asa Smallidge Knowles as president of Northeastern.

Under KGR's leadership, NU's academic programs were upgraded and expanded. NU established the nation's first College of Computer Science in 1982, and in 1980, the College of Education merged with Boston-Bouve College to become the Boston Bouve College of Human Development Professions. By 1989, over 19 academic centers and research institutes had been established; several honors and remedial programs had been implemented; and 16 satellite locations had been created. In addition, the first modern computer equipment was installed at the University.

During KGR's administration, research programs also increased. In 1978 the University Council on Research and Scholarship was established to foster development of research and scholarship activities. In 1981 the Office of Research Administration was reorganized to become the Office of Sponsored Research (it was renamed the Division of Research Management in 1989). By 1989, the funded research at NU had increased from $4.5 million in 1975 to $16.2 million. 

KGR also worked to improve the quality of teaching at NU. In 1978, he founded the Excellence in Teaching Awards, a merit program to recognize teachers, and in 1983, he established the Instructional Development Fund to encourage teachers to improve the quality of their teaching through experimentation with instructional content, innovative procedures, or technological resources. Under KGR's direction, faculty salaries and benefits were increased and merit allocations and salary equity adjustments were implemented.

During KGR's tenure, cooperative education acquired new dimensions. The attitude toward cooperative education shifted from a traditional emphasis on its financial advantages to its educational rewards. Co-op placements expanded in both in number and in variety; national and international assignments became more available for interested students. In addition student and faculty exchange programs were increased and enrollment of international students at NU rose. By 1988, 18.2% of the graduate students (except at School of Law) were international students.

Development activities escalated during KGR's tenure. Endowment funds increased from $30 million in 1975 to almost $87 million in 1985. Fund raising also increased by 220 percent. In 1980, NU launched the Century Fund campaign, a capital fund-raising project.  By the end of the first phase of the campaign in 1985, four new facilities – Cargill Hall, Kariotis Hall, Snell Engineering Center, and Solomon Track at Dedham -, and two renovated buildings - Cullinane Hall and Matthews Arena - were added to NU's physical plant.

KGR established the Office of Government Relations in 1979 to bring the concerns of NU faculty, employees and students to the United States Congress and the Massachusetts House of Representatives in a direct fashion on concerns relating to financial aid, cooperative education, and other legislative issues that would improve higher education in general and NU in particular.

Looking for ways to develop strong relations between NU and the local community, in 1976 he created the Office of Community Development (renamed the Office of Community Affairs in 1981) to work on various community projects. In 1975, NU participated in Phase II of the Boston public schools desegregation plan in which 21 Boston area colleges and universities each paired up with a specific Boston public school to assist in educational development. NU was paired with Madison Park High School in District 7.

NU also participated in the Southwest Corridor Project, an economic and environmental urban renewal project to improve Boston's transportation by developing the land near NU's property into residential, commercial, and light industrial enterprises. In 1986 the Ruggles Street MBTA Station was created.

After 40 years of service to NU, fourteen of which he had served as President, KGR submitted his resignation to NU's Board of Trustees. KGR became Chancellor when John A. Curry, a former NU administrator, was appointed as his successor in 1989.

Extent

42.15 cubic feet (100 containers, 1 flat file folder)

Overview

Kenneth Gilmore Ryder (KGR), the fourth president of Northeastern University (NU) from 1975 to 1989, began his career at NU in 1949 as an instructor of history and government. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1953 and to associate professor in 1956. In 1957, KGR gave up his teaching responsibilities to assume a succession of administrative positions: Dean of Administration (1958-1966), Vice President of University Administration (1967-1970), and Executive Vice President (1971-1975). In 1975, KGR succeeded Asa Smallidge Knowles as president of NU. Under KGR's leadership, NU's academic programs were upgraded and expanded, the quality of instruction was improved, research programs increased, and modern computer equipment was installed. Co-op placements expanded in number and variety, and national and international assignments became more available for interested students. Student and faculty exchange programs were increased, and enrollment of international students at NU rose. Development activities also escalated during KGR's tenure; in 1980, NU launched the Century Fund campaign, a capital fund-raising project. After 40 years of service to NU, KGR resigned. He became Chancellor in 1989 when John A. Curry was appointed as his successor.

Overview

The records of Kenneth Gilmore Ryder's (KGR) tenure as Northeastern University president (1975-1989) span 1955-1996. Records document KGR's leadership; the activities of NU's colleges, departments, and other research and administrative units; NU's involvement in community affairs, particularly the desegregation of Boston Public Schools; KGR's speaking engagements beyond NU; and KGR's participation in higher education associations in Massachusetts and United States. Records include annual reports, appointment books, awards and honors, campus planning and development records, correspondence and memoranda, reports, meeting agenda and minutes, audio and visual recordings, brochures, pamphlets, handbooks, newsletters, newspaper clippings, statistical information, notes, cards, lists, posters, proposals, surveys, writings, and artwork.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 4 series: 1. Appointments, Correspondence, and Memoranda; 2. Colleges, Departments, and Other Units; 3. Committees, Councils, and Organizations; and 4. Subject Files.Conditionings Governing Access:Records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office.

Physical Location

25/3-4, 26/1, 33/4, FF1/D1

Bibliography

  • A Decade of Progress: A Future of Promise, 1975-1985. Report, 1986.  (Box 64, Folder 521)
  • Calabro, Lori. "Kenneth Ryder." Bostonia (September 1981):78-79 (Box 73, Folder 606)
  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University, Coming of Age: The Ryder Years, 1975-1989. Boston: Northeastern University, 1995.   CALL NUMBER: LD4011.N22F732
Title
Finding aid for the Office of the President (Ryder) Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Archives Staff; updated by Abigail Cramer; updated by Martha Pearson
Date
1997, 2010, 2012, 2014
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US