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Memorial Tributes: Volume 1 (1979)

Chapter: Henry Townley Heald

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Suggested Citation:"Henry Townley Heald." National Academy of Engineering. 1979. Memorial Tributes: Volume 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/578.
Page 119
Suggested Citation:"Henry Townley Heald." National Academy of Engineering. 1979. Memorial Tributes: Volume 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/578.
Page 120
Suggested Citation:"Henry Townley Heald." National Academy of Engineering. 1979. Memorial Tributes: Volume 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/578.
Page 121
Suggested Citation:"Henry Townley Heald." National Academy of Engineering. 1979. Memorial Tributes: Volume 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/578.
Page 122

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H ENRY TOWNLEY H EALD 19()4-1975 BY l()H N A. HRONES H ENRY TOWNLEY HEALD, retired president of the Ford Founda- ti`'n, died November 23, 1975, in Winter Park, Florida. For a decade, as President of the Ford Foundation, he played a key leadership role in the development of engineering and science in the United States. During this period (1956-66), university educa- tion and research in engineering and science experienced its greatest growth in scope and quality. Dr. Heald was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 8, 1904. His father, Frederick DeForest Heald, was a distinguished plant pathologist. Henry Heald received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1923 from Washington State College. Two years later he was awarded a Master's degree in civil engineering at the University of Illinois. After two years practice as an engineer in Chicago, Dr. Heald began his distinguished career at the Illinois Institute of Technol- ogy, at that time the Armour Institute of Technology. He succes- sively held the positions of Assistant Professor (1927-31), Associate Professor ~ 1931-34), Dean of Freshman ~ 1933-34), Professor of Civil Engineering and Dean of Engineering (193~38), and Presi- dent (1938-521. The early years of Dr. Heald's presidency were critical ones. Without his perseverance in building a strong board of directors and his early success in fund-raising, the institution might well have closed. He led a successful effort to build the Armour Research 119

Foundation, which drew the interest of Midwest industry. A spec- tacular growth in research was paralleled by the development of a strong graduate program. Dr. Heald was instrumental in bringing about the consolidation of Armour Institute of Technology and Lewis Institute to form the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1940. His presidency of the combined institutions was a successful struggle to achieve both quality and financial stability. In 1952 Dr. Heald became Chancellor of New York University (NYU), one of the largest private universities in the United States. There, his administrative ability and the confidence that funding sources had in his leadership enabled him to strengthen NYU and to enable the University to cope effectively with its manifold problems derived from its urban location. In addition, he was Chairman of the New York State Commission on Educational Finances, which issued a comprehensive report, "Financing Public Education in New York State, 1956." He also chaired the Committee on Higher Education in the State of New York which issued a report, "Meet- ing the Increasing Demand for Higher Education in New York, 1960." Recommendations included in these reports were important building blocks in the reshaping of higher education in the State of New York. His tenure at NYU was constructive and successful, and he won the respect of all his contemporaries in urban higher education. In 1956 Dr. Heald became President of the Ford Foundation, a position in which he served with vision and energy. During the period of his presidency (195~66), the Ford Foundation commit- ted approximately $1.75 billion for philanthropic purposes. Under his leadership, the Foundation established programs in the arts, the physical sciences and engineering, and in demographics; expanded overseas programs to Africa, Latin America, Japan, and Australia; inaugurated major school and community programs in low-income city neighborhoods; stimulated the growth of noncommercial tele- vision; created the Educational Facilities Laboratories; and initiated a special and extremely valuable program of unrestricted grants to support the long-range development of private universities and colleges. The Foundation, under his able leadership, demon- strated, often in a brilliant and imaginative way, how much a great 120

philanthropic organization can do to develop and support the culture and welfare of an entire nation and of others beyond its borders. Dr. Heald was a Charter Member of the Board of Trustees of the Asian Institute of Technology (Bangkok). He played a leading role in the founding of this private international graduate school of engineering, which attracts talented men and women from more than twenty countries. In 1966 Dr. Heald founded the consulting firm of Heald, Hob- son and Associates, which provided assistance to educational, re- search, and philanthropic organizations. He directed the study that recommended the federation of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University. In 1967 those two institutions united to become Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Heald was a member of numerous professional and honor- ary societies and served terms as President of the American Society of Engineering Education, President of the Western Society of Engineers, President of the Association of Urban Universities, and Chairman of the American Council on Education. He was the recipient of twenty-one honorary degrees. Other awards included the Navy Award for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Washington Award of the Western Society of Engineers, the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Social Sciences, and the Hoover Medal. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1965. Dr. Heald's business affiliations included directorships of Equi- table Life Assurance Society, American Telephone and Telegraph Company, United States Steel Corporation and Lever Brothers Company. Henry Heald commanded the respect of all who worked with him. He was quiet yet determined in manner. He was a good listener. His thoughtful forward-looking leadership earned the respect of his colleagues, whose support of his programs made possible the enormous influence he had on higher education. This influence continues through the institutions his wise counsel helped shape. We who knew him are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. 121

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