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Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Bigelow, Bruce M.

Bruce Macmillan Bigelow (1903-1954), vice-president and director of admissions, was born in Norwood, Rhode Island, on August 27, 1903. After graduation from Brown in 1924, he became an assistant in the History Department. He was an instructor in history at M.I.T. from 1926 to 1928, and received his master’s degree from Harvard in 1927 and his Ph.D. from Brown in 1930. He was appointed instructor in history at Brown in 1930, assistant professor in 1935, associate professor in 1943, and professor in 1947. He became associate dean of the college in 1940, dean of students in 1943, and vice-president of the University in 1945. He also became acting director of admissions in 1931 and director of admissions the next year. In these varied capacities, he traveled extensively, visiting secondary schools and Brown alumni clubs. He was largely responsible for the development of the “Identification and Criticism of Ideas” curriculum introduced in 1952. According to Professor Robert W. Kenny, “Wriston was smart. He knew that in Bigelow he had a gem, a man of personality and charm who could talk to alumni, students, and heads of other colleges. In a sense, he was Wriston’s trouble-shooter. He went around putting the bricks back in the wall after Wriston had kicked them out.” His attachment to Brown was so great that he turned down offers of presidencies of other institutions. His sudden death of a heart attack on December 27, 1954 shocked the University. President Wriston said of him:

“Bruce Bigelow was the very embodiment of friendliness. Parents and students in vast numbers sought his counsel and help and never in vain. His genius for expressing the warmth of his heart made him the best-beloved Brown man anywhere. ... he knew more alumni and more citizens than any other officer and he put all his knowledge to the service of his alma mater.... He will hold a unique place in the development of Brown, as in the hearts of his host of friends.”

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.


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