This paper seeks to explore the origins of college administration, particularly student development, as a profession unique from faculty positions by researching the influence of key American university presidents at the dawn of the 20th century. This paper explores precipitating factors leading to the rise of this new type of president, scornfully coined “Captains of Erudition” by Veblen (1918), and the emergence of the student development field. An evaluation of this generation of presidents is offered, followed by a section highlighting key consequences of this pivotal period for higher education today. Original presidential writings from the early 1900s by key university presidents on the subject of university administration are explored, as well as historical pieces evaluating their presidencies and their decisions leading to the realm of student development as a distinct class of higher education administration.
"Captains of Erudition: How the First-Generation American University Presidents Paved the Way for the Student Development Profession,"
Growth: The Journal of the Association for Christians in Student Development: Vol. 13:
13, Article 3.
Available at: https://pillars.taylor.edu/acsd_growth/vol13/iss13/3
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