Education: First Love

When the officials of Haverford College, on Pennsylvania's Main Line, tried to talk Geographer Gilbert Fowler White into taking over the presidency in 1946, he was about as reluctant as a candidate can be. At 34, he felt that he was much too young for the job; he was also much fascinated by geography, in which he took his doctorate (1942) at the University of Chicago. Nevertheless, White finally accepted—and proved to be as wrong about himself as he had been reluctant.

A devout Quaker, he seemed just the man for the nation's oldest Quaker college. He knew all his 450 students...

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