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About Gordon Keith Chalmers
Gordon Keith Chalmers (7 February 1904 in Waukesha, Wisconsin – 8 May 1956 in Hyannis, Massachusetts) was a scholar of seventeenth-century English thought and letters, president of Rockford College and Kenyon College, and a national leader in American higher education.
Early life and education
The son of Wiliam Everett Chalmers and his wife Mary Dunklee Maynard, Gordon Chalmers attended Brown University, where he graduated in 1925. Awarded a Rhodes scholarship, he attended Wadham College at Oxford University for three years, earning his Bachelors degree in 1928 and his Masters degree in 1934. Returning to the United States, he entered Harvard University, where he earned a masters degree and his Ph.D. in 1933 with a three-volume thesis on "Sir Thomas Browne’s thought and its relation to contemporary ideas". On 3 September 1929, he married the poet Roberta Teale Swartz, with whom he had three sons and a daughter.
Chalmers was appointed instructor in English at Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1933. In 1934, he was selected as president of Rockford College and then selected as president of Kenyon College in 1937. He remained Kenyon's president until his sudden death at the age of 52.
While at Kenyon, Chalmers was responsible for a remarkable transformation of the College, recruiting for it a wide range of prominent scholars. He developed a close friendship with Robert Frost, who he brought to the college on a number of occasions. This relationship was no doubt aided by the fact that he worked with Lesley Frost Ballantine, Frost's daughter, while at Rockford College. He also had a close association with Kenyon English professor John Crowe Ransom. Among the achievements of Chalmer's administration at Kenyon was the establishment of the Kenyon Review. Through Chalmers, Kenyon also became the birthplace of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board.
Chalmers served as vice president, Franco-American Audio-Visual Distribution Center, 1948-53, and president from 1953-56. He was member of the National Committee for Fulbright Awards in 1951; chairman of school and college study of admissions with advanced standing from 1951 to 1956, president of the College English Association, 1949-50; president of the Ohio College Association, 1943-45.
An Episcopalian, Chalmers was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Jane Addams" in Prairie Crops: Addresses given at the commencement exercises and the baccalaureate service, June, 1935, edited by J.S.P. Tatlock. Rockford College, Rockford, Ill., 1936, pp. 16-24.
A new view of the world; a discussion of liberal education after the war. Denver, Social Science Foundation, University of Denver, 1943.
The prerequisite of Christian education New Haven, Conn. : Edward W. Hazen Foundation, [1948?]
The Republic and the Person, a discussion of necessities in modern American education. Chicago, Regnery, 1952.
In addition to his published books, he served as editor of the American Oxonian from 1946 to 1948