Nelson P. Guild, 75, president of Frostburg State College

January 07, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Nelson P. Guild, a political science professor and president for 16 years of what is now Frostburg State University, died of emphysema and internal hemorrhaging Monday at Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland.

Dr. Guild, who had received a diagnosis of cancer recently, was 75 and lived in Frostburg.

Heading Frostburg State from 1969 to 1985, Dr. Guild helped to transform the former teachers' college into a liberal arts college, laying the groundwork for it to join the University System of Maryland, which it did in 1988, said Frostburg President Catherine R. Gira.

"I am grateful for the Guild legacy," Dr. Gira said yesterday. "A lot of important and exciting things happened during his tenure, and it is those things that we have continued to build upon."

Dr. Guild was born and raised in Keene, N.H., the youngest of five children. His father was a postal clerk and his mother a pianist and organist.

He served in the Air Force from 1946 to 1949, attaining the rank of staff sergeant, and in 1950 married his high school sweetheart, the former Margaret Graf.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in government from the University of New Hampshire in 1953 and a master of arts and a doctorate in political science from Pennsylvania State University in 1955 and 1958, respectively.

He was a professor of government at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., for eight years before being named dean of Frostburg State College in 1966.

Three years later, after a national search, the state university board appointed him president of the institution.

During his tenure, the college constructed a library, physical education center and residence halls; enrollment grew from 2,010 to 3,227; and the annual budget increased from $3.9 million to $23.8 million.

Dr. Guild stepped down as president in 1985 to take a position as interim executive director of the Board of Trustees of the State Universities and Colleges of Maryland.

He was honored in 1986 at the opening of the Nelson P. Guild Human Resources Center on the Frostburg campus.

He retired in 1987, and was named president emeritus of Frostburg State University in 1991.

Dr. Guild, who was described by friends as "very kind, very bright and very humane," also took in young professors and helped them to adapt to life in Western Maryland. One of those he befriended was Stephen Simpson, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs, who arrived on campus in 1978.

"He made me feel like I was part of his family," Dr. Simpson said of his friend and mentor. "He was a tremendously warm person."

Plans for services were incomplete yesterday.

The family suggested memorial donations to the Frostburg State University Foundation's Nelson P. Guild Scholarship Fund, or the restoration fund at Frostburg Methodist Church.

Dr. Guild is survived by his wife; a son, Douglas Guild of Chapel Hill, N.C.; a grandson; and two granddaughters. Another son, Matthew Guild, died in 2000.

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