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President George H. Williams Papers

VOLUME: 7 linear feet

Forms Part of Record Group No. 3, Records of the Office of the President

ACCESS: This collection is open to the public upon request. Several items are restricted due to privacy concerns. They are identified as such in this document.

COPYRIGHT: Please consult the archivist for information about duplication or publishing of any materials from this collection.

RELATED COLLECTIONS: Records of the Faculty Senate; University Publications; Records of the Dean of Faculties; Records of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Don Bowles); Treasurer and Business Manager (William O. Nicholls)

Biographical Note

George H. Williams was born in 1918. After earning his B.A. from Hofstra in 1939, he entered New York University’s law school. His education was interrupted when he was drafted in 1941. He returned to law school in 1945 and received his J.D. in 1946. George Williams served in a variety of positions at New York University’s law school including Professor (1948-1968) and Assistant Dean (1958-1962) eventually becoming Vice President for Planning and Development (1962-1968).

In 1968, George H. Williams became the ninth President of American University (AU) in Washington, DC. He guided AU through a turbulent period. Between 1968 and 1970, he coordinated campus response to student protests and promoted dialogue between the students, faculty, and administration. Out of these efforts, students were invited to participate in university governance discussions and significant changes to the curricula were adopted. Though most of the protests at AU were non-violent and non-destructive, a few were not - most notably the protests in response to the Kent State shootings in the spring of 1970. The Students for Democratic Society’s takeover of the President’s building in the spring of 1969 also differed as most students and faculty did not support the protesters. The University turned to the courts to obtain a restraining order to calm things down. Williams testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Internal Security about his experiences at AU. American University also provided meeting space to the coordinators of the Moratorium against the War in Vietnam. Despite its initial plans to limit its role, AU quickly was engulfed in this massive protest and found itself housing several thousand student protesters.

During the first years of Williams’ tenure, enrollment was at an all-time high. Williams increased the number of full-time faculty to allow for smaller class sizes. By 1972, the University began experiencing financial set backs including a reduction in financial support from the United Methodist Church and fundraising challenges which impeded its capital campaign. The campus master plan adopted in 1974 was not revised until the 1980s. Another major milestone of the Williams years was the establishment of the College of Public Affairs.

George Williams resigned in 1975. He served as Vice President and Executive Director of the American Judicature Society from 1976 to 1986 and on the Executive Committee that wrote the mission for the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution Systems in 1995. He died in May 2003.

Scope and Content Note

This series documents George Williams’ tenure as President of American University (1968-1975). These files relate to the administration of the university in particular governance issues and development. Some of the property and development files contain materials from the previous President, Hurst Anderson. Featured are Williams’ dealings with faculty, students, parents, and others during campus protests (1968-1970) including a reading file on reaction to student unrest at campuses across the United States. Coverage of academic affairs is limited but contains information on the Center for Administration of Justice and the School of Business Affair’s Business Government Relations Program among others. Williams’ speeches and writing for campus publications are also included.

Box & Folder Listing

Box 1

  • Academic Development (Dean) 1968-1972
  • Administrative Committee 1969-1971
  • Administrative Matters 1968-1974 (2 folders)
  • Administrative Organization 1969, 1971-1972
  • Administrative Structure of the University – President Anderson 1963
  • Alumni Matters 1968-1973
  • Anderson Hall – Sixth Floor – Development 1971-1972
  • Announcements 1971-1973
  • Beeghly, Leon A. Fund 1953-1954, 1960-1969
  • Biology Building – Cincinnati Trip 1964-1969

Box 2

  • Black Students 1969-1972 (2 folders)
  • Board of Trustees - RESTRICTED
    • 1970-1972
    • Executive Committee 1968-1970
    • Executive Committee and Building and Grounds Committee (6/9/72)
    • Joint Meetings – Trustees, Faculty and Staff 1968-70 (2 folders)
    • Poynter – Remarks to the Board of Trustees (10/31/70)
    • Reaction to Joint Board Meeting 1969
    • Report of the Student Life Committee to the Board of Trustees (Roland Rice) (4/25/70)
    • Reports of President Williams to the Board of Trustees 1971-1973
    • “TAU – Its Purposes” – Stephen Horn (4/26/69)

Box 3

  • Broadcast Center (WAMU) 1968-1971
  • Budget 1967, 1969, 1972-1975
  • Campus Ministry – Baltimore Annual Conference – The United Methodist Church 1970-1971
  • Campus Ministry Evaluation Committee Progress Report (Commission on Christian Higher Education) 1973
  • Center for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) (1969-70 (2 folders)
  • Center for the Administration of Justice – Special Correspondence 1969

Box 4

  • Center for the Administration of Justice/EPB – Hugh Nugent 1970-1971
  • Center for Liberal Studies 1965-1972
  • Chaplain 1968-1972
  • Chemistry, Department of 1968-1973 (2 folders)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) 1969-1973
  • College of Continuing Education 1968-73
  • Communication, Department of 1966-1969

Box 5

  • Communication, Department of 1970-1971
  • Controller, 1968-1970, 1974
  • [Correspondence] 1968-1975
  • Deans – Council of 1968-1970
  • Development – Annual Fund 1969-1974
  • Development Campaign 1970-1971
  • Development Education and Training Research Institute (DETRI) 1968-1971
  • Development Matters 1968-1972

Box 6

  • Director of Planning 1973-1975
  • Dore Estate 1968, 1971
  • Downtown Property 1967, 1973
    • 1925 F ST. Club 1948, 1952-1954, 1958-1959, 1962, 1965-1969, 1974, 1976
    • 1925 F ST. Club VS. TAU 1967, 1971
    • Report of the Subcommittee to the Special Committee on the University’s Downtown Property (David Kreeger and John Laskey) 1966
  • The Eagle (Williams’ Writing for and Correspondence With) 1968-1975
  • Education, Department of 1967, 1970
  • “Education for What?” – Abdul Said (4/26/69)
  • Endowed Professorships 1968, 1970
  • Establishment of Board of Visitors 1974-1975

Box 7

  • Faculty Matters 1968-1969, 1971-1973 (2 folders)
  • Faulkner, Fryer and Vanderpool, Architects 1959-1969
  • Financial Council – Administrative Organization Memo 1969
  • General Counsel 1969-1972, 1975 (2 folders)
  • Graduate Studies 1968-1972 (2 folders)

Box 8

  • Health, Education and Welfare, U.S. Department of (HEW) 1968, 1970
  • Honors Program (Board) 1967, 1969
  • Housing 1969
  • Incoming Circulars 1969, 1972-1973
  • Institutional Studies, Office of [enrollment reports] 1968-1973 (2 folders)
  • Intersession 1969-1971
  • Judicial System 1968-1969, 1971
  • Library 1968-1972
  • Memoranda 1969-1970
  • Music, Department of 1969-1972
  • Myers Trust 1962, 1969-1974

Box 9

  • OASATAU 1968
  • Plane Crashes into WAMU Tower (JAN. 1975)
  • “The Proud Venture” (Draft)
  • [Sager, Douglas] 1968-1969 - RESTRICTED
  • Saltzman, Arnold A. 1968-1972
  • Scheduling Committee 1969
  • School of Business Administration (SBA) 1968-1973 (2 folders)
  • SBA – Business Government Relations Program – Private Enterprise Center 1968-1973 (2 folders)
  • SBA – Pfaff Case 1969 - RESTRICTED
  • Speech Arts, Department of 1970-1971
  • Student Association (1968-70)
  • Student Unrest
    • [Chronological File]
      • April 1969 (includes restraining order)

Box 10

  • Student Unrest (continued)
    • [Chronological File] (continued)
      • April 7, 1970
      • May 6-May 11, 1970
    • Correspondence – Gregory Affair
      • Alumni
      • Faculty/Takeover of President’s Office
      • Special
      • Students
      • Outside and List of Telephone Calls
    • Correspondence
      • Mail Reaction to April 1969 Unrest
      • Parents May 1970
      • President Williams General 1968-1971
      • Fritz Witti – V. President 1969-1970
      • White House – Between AU President and US President 1969-1970
    • Demonstrations on TAU Campus 1970-1971
    • [The Eagle 1968-1969 Year of Protest, Year of Reform]
    • House Subpoena July 1969
    • The New AU 1969
    • Newspaper Clippings American University 1968-69

Box 11

  • Student Unrest (continued)
    • Newspaper Clippings American University 1970-71
    • News Flyers re: Student Takeover of the Administration Building, including List of Demands, 1969-1971
    • Reading File (Colleges around the Nation)
      • 1968 (2 folders)
      • 1969 (3 folders)

Box 12

  • Student Unrest (continued)
    • Reading File (continued)
      • 1970 (3 folders)
    • [Reconvened 75th Anniversary Student Evaluation Committee] 1969
    • Statements
      • Statements Concerning Student Unrest 1968-1970
      • Statements by University Officials around the Country 1968-1970
      • Bad Day at Generation Gap, Glenn S. Dumke, Chancellor, California State College, 1969
      • Statements by Alexander Heard, Chancellor, Vanderbilt University 1970
      • President Williams’ Statements 1968-1972 (2 folders)
    • Student Mobilization Committee 1968-1970

Box 13

  • Student Unrest (continued)
    • Students Rights and Responsibilities 1968
    • University Reform 1968-1970
  • “University and Revolution” Course
  • University Policy and Procedures 1970-1973
  • University Senate 1968-1970 (2 folders)
    • Committee on University Evaluation: Project on University Reform 1968-1969
    • Executive Committee (1968-69)
    • Tripartite Committee 1969

Box 14

  • Urban Corps 1969
  • Williams, George
    • Interviews, Writings for Campus Publications, etc. 1968-1970, 1973-1975
    • Speeches 1968-1974
    • Speeches - Convocation for New Students (9/15/68)
    • Speeches - Inauguration (10/16/68)
    • Speeches to University Senate 1968-1972, 1975
      • Background 1972
    • Statements 1969-1972
    • Wolf Trap Academy Clippings 1970-1972
    • World Methodist Council (1971 Meeting) 1968-1969