Notable Deaths Elsewhere

July 27, 2009


Education adviser for 3 presidents

Alexander Heard, the chancellor of Vanderbilt University in the 1960s and 1970s and an education adviser under three U.S. presidents, died Friday. He was 92.

The university said Heard died at home after a long illness.

As head of the private university in Nashville, Tenn., Heard helped guide it through turbulent political conflicts that struck many other schools.

He defended students who organized a slate of speakers that included Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael, a supporter of black power.

He also served as an education adviser in three presidential administrations under Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He was a diplomatic aide in Ecuador from 1941 to 1943 and an active-duty officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946.

Heard was dean of the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina when Vanderbilt hired him as chancellor in 1963, to succeed Harvie Branscomb. During Heard's tenure, the Owen Graduate School of Management was established, the Vanderbilt school of education was created through the merger with Peabody College, and the Blair School of Music merged with Vanderbilt.

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