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Harry Burns Hutchins
The Michigan Alumnus 307

President Emeritus Hutchins is Dead

First Alumnus-President of University Dies Suddenly at Ann Arbor; Was Nearly
 Eighty-three Years of Age

President Emeritus of the University of Michigan, died at this Monroe Street residence in Ann Arbor in the early evening of January 25.

Death was due to apoplexy. Dr. Hutchins had not
 been strong for several years, but only during the last
 two days of his life had his illness seemed serious. The 
campus knew of this illness, but few believed that his 
condition was critical. It was therefore a distinct
 shock to everyone when the death was announced by 
radio from the University broadcasting station dur
ing the weekly University of Michigan hour. 

The passing of Dr. Hutchins came the day following 
the death of Judge Victor Hugo Lane, Professor of 
Law, and a colleague on the faculty of the Law School. 
 There were probably no other two men more thorough
ly a part of Michigan, its growth and its tradition. 
Both were graduates; both were teachers with long 
terms of teaching; both lived and worked and watched 
as Michigan grew from a small university to the great
 institution it is today; both had a part in the great 
transition periods of the University's progress; both
 played preeminent parts in the building of contacts be
tween alumni and Alma Mater, Dr. Hutchins as the 
University President who adopted and promoted the 
policy of closer contacts between campus and graduate
 and Judge Lane as the President of the Alumni As
sociation for mere than a score of years while the 
Hutchins policies were being developed and worked out.

Dr. Hutchins retired from active University service 
in 1920 when Marion Leroy Burton took the reins. 
That retirement brought to a close a period of affiliation
 with the University which began when he entered as a
 freshman in 1867 and continued through years of 
teaching and administration, with only the two interims while he was practicing attorney in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and when he aided in the organizating of the Law School at Cornell University,

His retirement in 1920 did not mean
 a complete severance of all ties. He maintained an of
fice on the campus and was to be found there daily un
til recent years. His relationship with William W. 
 Cook of New York City, outstanding benefactor of 
the University, has continued over many years and this 
relationship has been the medium of contact in recent
 years between the University and this alumnus who is
 building the great law quadrangle for Michigan. Dur
ing more recent times, physical infirmities have kept 
Dr. Hutchins within restricted limits and he has met
 callers in the library of his home, appearing on the 
streets of Ann Arbor only in his automobile. The
 hostess at his home has been Miss Fandira Crocker, 
 his sister-in-law, since the death of his wife, Mrs. Mary 
Louise Crocker Hutchins, August 2, 1927. 

Harry B. Hutchins was born in Lisbon, N. 
 H., April 8, 1847. He received his early education 
at New Hampshire Conference Academy at Tilton, N. 
 H., and Vermont Seminary at Newbury, Vermont. He 
studied at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., 
and at both Dartmouth and the University of Vermont
 before coming to the University of Michigan. 

After a year of teaching at Owosso, Michigan, he 
returned to the University as an Instructor—and later 
Assistant Professor of history and rhetoric. Upon be
ing admitted to the bar in 1876, he entered practice at
 Mt. Clemens, where he remained until 1884. For the 
next three years he was Jay Professor of Law at Mich
igan. In 1887 he was called to Cornell University to
 aid in the organization of the law school there and remained on the faculty until 1895 when he came back 
to his Alma Mater to accept the Dean ship of the Law
 School, succeeding Dean Jerome C. Knowlton. 

President Hutchins tells how he was drawn to Mich
igan in 1867 from his hillside farm home in Vermont 
by the reputation of Michigan's faculty. He had be
come greatly dissatisfied with the educational facilities
 offered in the East, though he did not know exactly 
what he wanted to do. Just at this time his father re
turned from a business trip in the West and reported 
that he had found the 
right place for him in the 
University of Michigan. 
 When the young man replied, "Oh, I know about
 Ann Arbor," the father
 was somewhat surprised 
and asked how that hap
pened. "Well," said Mich
igan's future President, "I
 have noticed that the edi
tor of the Virgil I study is
 Professor Frieze, at Ann
 Arbor, and in Greek there
 is a Professor Boise; my 
French textbooks are by
 Professor Fasquelle; 
 seems to me that must be
 a pretty good university."
 So despite dire warning, 
from his grandmother, as 
to the dangers from the
 desperadoes of the West, 
 to say nothing of the In
dians, he came to Michi
gan; drawn by the schol
arly work of the men of 
that early faculty, as were 
 of other students. 

Twice was Dr. Hutch
ins appointed to fill 
temporarily the chief executive post of the Univer
sity, serving as Acting 
President while Dr. Angell was Ambassador to Turkey in 1897-1898, and 
later from 1919 to 1920 after President Angell retired. 

Dr. Hutchins assumed the full responsibility of the
 University under protest. Time and again he stated to 
the Regents his desire to be relieved from the position. 
Repeatedly he asserted his desire to be considered only as Acting President in order that a successor could be 
chosen at the earliest possible date. 

This attitude of mind did not prevent, however, his
 attacking with vigor the problems, which faced the Uni
versity. New buildings, long needed, were projected and 
built. The great, new University Hospital was started, 
a mammoth enterprise, which was interrupted by the
 World War, and the completion of which was one of the tasks taken over by President Burton. It was under
 President Hutchins that the University was turned 
to full service for the nation during the war period. 
 And into his hands was given the task of initiating 
the unusual measures made necessary after the war 
by the great influx of record-breaking numbers of 

It was President Hutchins who completely changed 
the policy of the University in its contact with the
 alumni. He believed thoroughly in Michigan graduates
 and recognized their pow
ers for good for the University. He sought oppor
tunities to appear before 
groups of alumni; he was
 a prime mover in the organization of University 
of Michigan Clubs in local
 alumni centers. He encouraged alumni interest 
in every way possible, fol
lowing a policy in this re
spect, which was very dif
ferent from that of his 
predecessors. It can very
 safely be stated that the 
present status of alumni
 relationships is largely the 
product of the policies announced and followed by 
Dr. Hutchins. The results 
have been manifest in the 
large number of gifts
 that have come to the 
University from alumni
 and friends and in the
 latest effort, the Ten-Year 
Program of the Alumni

Dr. Hutchins was deep
ly respected by graduates
 of the Law School as well 
as by those who came in
 to contact with him from 
other departments of the

His death came all too
 soon for the work, which he was doing for the Univer
sity, especially in connection with the recent gift of Mr. 
Cook in founding the Cook Lectureships on American 
Institutions. Through Dr. Hutchins, Charles E. Hughes 
had been secured as the first speaker under this grant.