Youngest College Deans in the US History

3 Youngest College Deans in U.S. History

The United States has produced some top minds and educators from all walks of life. The US has had many influential people who lead by example, from presidents to scholars and entrepreneurs. Some of the most respected people across generations are university professors and those who went on to be college deans.

Considered the chief officers of a university, they are often called the “managers,” and most of them focus on academic affairs. They have always kept the academic life of their students and their administrations in check.

In this article, we’re looking back at some of the youngest college deans in U.S. history who made their mark not only in their academic careers but also inspired many by their leadership.

3. Scott Beaulier (August 1977 – present)

Age When Appointed: 39 years old
Year of Appointment: 2016
College: College of Business
Highest Academic Background: Ph.D. in Economics (George Mason University)

Scott Beaulierphoto source: WDAY Radio

The dean of business and an economist who teaches at the University of Wyoming’s College of Business is an American named Scott Beaulier. Before this, he served as dean of the college of business at North Dakota State University.

Beaulier was Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty earlier in his career. He was also the Chair of Economics & Finance at Troy University, Executive Director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy, and Department Chair of Economics at Mercer University.

He studied at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, where he developed an interest in economics after enrolling in a David Prychitko course.

Beaulier graduated with a B.A. in economics and history from Northern Michigan University in 2000 and an economics Ph.D. a few years later. His dissertation, which Peter Boettke oversaw, concentrated on economic growth and strong institutions’ role in human flourishing.

2. Denice Denton (August 27, 1959 – June 24, 2006)

Age When Appointed: 37 years old
Year of Appointment: 1996
College: College of Engineering (University of Washington)
Highest Academic Background: Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (MIT)

Denice Dentonphoto source: National Science Foundation

Denice Dee Denton is an American professor of electrical engineering and known as an academic administrator who held several leading positions in the academe. Denton held academic positions at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

She joined the University of Washington in 1996 as a professor of electrical engineering and the dean of the college of engineering. Denton was the first woman to serve as dean of an engineering college at a top research institution in the United States.

Denton served on the committees that chose the UC President’s Committee for the Medal of Science and the NSF-sponsored Alan T. Waterman Award honorees. She was a fellow of the Association for Women in Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (IEEE).

Did You Know?

Denice Denton served as the University of California, Santa Cruz’s ninth chancellor.

1. Bernice Cronkhite (July 23, 1893 – August 3, 1983)

Age When Appointed: 29 years old
Year of Appointment: 1922
College: Radcliffe College
Highest Academic Background: Doctorate in Political Science (Radcliffe College)

Bernice Cronkhitephoto source: Harvard Square Library

Bernice Cronkhite was appointed dean of Radcliffe College in 1922 at 29, making her the youngest dean in American history. In addition to being a professor, she served as Radcliffe College’s previous dean for 36 years. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1916, a Master’s in 1918, and a Ph.D. in 1920, all from Radcliffe College.

Her dissertation, “On the Status of Armed Merchantmen,” earned her Ph.D. in political science at Radcliffe College. From 1934 until her retirement in 1959, she held the Radcliffe graduate school’s first dean position. Despite her retirement, she served as Radcliffe College’s vice president and trustee until 1960, when she was appointed dean emeritus.

Did You Know?

She was associated with Radcliffe College for 70 years, and the Cronkhite Graduate Center was dedicated in her honor.


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