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Title:David Kinley, 1861-1944: The Career of The Fifth President of The University of Illinois
Author(s):Grisso, Karl Max
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Higher
Abstract:This dissertation is not a biography of David Kinley but a historical study of his career as a scholar-administrator within the intellectual, social, economic, and political world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Based on archival materials, it is a contribution toward the general history of American higher education and a useful resource for those who undertake to write a modern history of the University of Illinois.
Joining the faculty in 1893 to organize a social science program and an economics department at the University of Illinois, then chiefly a technical and engineering school, Kinley was quickly promoted to full professor and dean of its struggling college of literature and arts in 1894. During an active thirty-seven year association, in which Kinley served under Acting Regent Thomas J. Burrill (1893-1894) and presidents Andrew S. Draper (1894-1904) and Edmund J. James (1904-1919), he made major contributions toward the development of the University of Illinois as one of the important centers of higher learning in the United States. Besides promoting and firmly establishing the liberal arts program, Kinley organized and developed a commerce program and served as its first director, reorganized the graduate school and served as its dean, and as vice president from 1913 to 1919 became President James' chief lieutenant in the administration of the University. In each of these positions--some of which he held simultaneously for long periods--Kinley combined the driving personal ambition and career consciousness of an entrepreneur with a consuming devotion to the welfare of the University of Illinois.
At the same time Kinley pursued a scholarly career in economics which won for him a national reputation as an economist and authority on money and banking. Influenced by the social gospel, the new school of economics, and his mentor, the distinguished economist Richard T. Ely, Kinley briefly flirted in the 1890s with public advocacy of specific social and political reforms and then withdrew into the study of the technical aspects of banking and monetary theory, emerging in the early years of this century as a Progressive era "expert" and advisor to Illinois Governor Charles S. Deneen and the National Monetary Commission, headed by Senator Nelson Aldrich, and as president of the American Economic Association.
Subsequently, as acting president of the University of Illinois in 1919 and then as president from 1920 to 1930, Kinley devised an imaginative and realistic Ten Year Plan for the development of the institution which won state-wide support and brought unprecedented appropriations to rebuild the University after years of prewar neglect and after the devastating effects of World War I. A master at managing University-State relations, Kinley succeeded in preserving and enhancing the independence of the University while acquiring and keeping the support of conflicting interest groups. Philosophically a utilitarian in his outlook on American higher education during most of his career, Kinley increasingly became an advocate of a liberal culture view during his presidential years.
As an intellectual and as a university administrator, Kinley reflected the thinking of that so-called progressive generation of his day which attempted so valiantly to solve the accumulated social, political, and economic problems of the post-Civil War era by extending democracy and education to every phase of American life. Consequently, his career illuminates not only a period of American higher education but also a stage in the professionalization of the fields of economics and university administration.
Issue Date:1980
Description:717 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108525
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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