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David Truman
15th President of Mount Holyoke College
Term 1969 – 1978
Predecessor Meribeth E. Cameron
Successor Elizabeth Topham Kennan
Born 1913
Evanston, Illinois
Died 2003
Alma mater Amherst College
University of Chicago
Profession Professor

David Bicknell Truman (1913-2003) was an American academic who served as the 15th president of Mount Holyoke College from 1969-1978. He is also known for his role as a Columbia University administrator during the Columbia University protests of 1968.



Truman was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He received his B.A. from Amherst and his doctorate from the University of Chicago.

Political Science

Truman was a prominent political scientist and is known for his contributions to the theory of political pluralism.

Administrative Roles

He taught at a number of institutions before joining Columbia University in 1951. There, in addition to teaching political science, he undertook a number of administrative roles, serving successively as head of the department of public law and government (1959-61), Dean of Columbia College (1962-67), and Vice-President & Provost (1967-69). In 1969, Truman "stepped down after a tumultuous year of student unrest. During the student-lead takeover of the University, Truman was continually mentioned as a University administrator who retained the student body's respect." [1]

Truman became president of Mount Holyoke College in 1969 and stayed until 1978. Truman oversaw the decision to remain a woman's college in 1971. [2] His obituary from Mount Holyoke noted, "both at Columbia and Mount Holyoke, Truman was involved in dealing with the significant student unrest of the late 1960s and 1970s. At both campuses he faced student protests and takeovers regarding such difficult issues as race and the Vietnam War. Despite these challenges, which were common on college campuses during the Vietnam Era, Truman left a lasting legacy as a warm and caring leader." [3]


  • Administrative Decentralization (1940)
  • The Governmental Process (1951)
  • The Congressional Party (1959)

See also

References and external links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Meribeth E. Cameron
President of Mount Holyoke College
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Topham Kennan
Preceded by
John G. Palfrey
Dean of Columbia College
1963 – 1967
Succeeded by
Carl Hovde


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