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Lynn Harold Hough
 
Born:
 
September 10, 1877
Cadiz, Ohio
Died:
 
July 14, 1971
New York City, New York
President:
 
1919 - 1920
Education:
 
B.A., Scio College, Alliance, Ohio (1898);
M.A., Drew Seminary (1905);
D.Th., Drew Seminary (1918)
 
"...sterling character and high ideals that react [sic] as an inspiration upon the young men and women who come within the spheres of his influence."
- Evanston News Index, May 17, 1919
Lynn Harold Hough
 

When Thomas Holgate retired in 1919, the trustees were pleased to have found Lynn Hough to replace him. Beginning with Henry Wade Rogers, Northwestern had been subject to a series of strong presidents—interspersed with several administrators intended more or less to mark time until the next long-term candidate came along—who did much to advance the quality of their institution, but in the face of tension with the trustees over knotty problems ranging from finance to broader political issues. So when Lynn H. Hough appeared, the trustees thought, yet again, that their troubles were over; that their new man would remain as a reliable leader for the University, just emerging from the war years.  Yet again, to their dismay, their new choice proved a transient presence at the helm.

Lynn Harold Hough, president in 1919 and 1920, was born on September 10, 1877, in Cadiz, Ohio. Hough received a B.A. degree from Scio College in Alliance, Ohio, in 1898, and a B.D. from Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, New Jersey, in 1905. In 1918, Drew University granted him a Doctor of Theology degree, and he went on to hold several pastorates in the Methodist Church in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland, in the years 1898-1914. In 1914 he decided to become an educator and secured a position as professor of historical theology at Garrett Biblical Institute. He must have cultivated that field most effectively, because on May 27, 1919, a mere five years later and at the age of 42, he was picked as Northwestern's dynamic new leader, whom they hoped would bring continuity and stability to the presidency. He was a dynamic public speaker and had established thus for himself a good reputation. But his seeming lack of experience for the role envisaged for him must have bothered some, because his appointment was not without controversy among the trustees.

Proposal sketch of the Medical SchoolDuring his short tenure, Hough was involved in several important developments. A certificate-granting School of Education, within the College of Liberal Arts, was initiated. A graduate division, awarding the M.B.A. degree, was established at the School of Commerce. And most importantly, a major fundraising campaign, meant to set the University on a sounder fiscal footing, and pursue the goal of making a Chicago campus a reality, took shape.

The Greater Northwestern University campaign, begun in late 1919, aimed to raise $25 million over ten years; more immediately, it sought $4 million to fund current operations, as well as $1,420,000 to act on the existing option to buy land in Chicago, at the corner of Chicago and Lake Shore Drive. Pursuant to this, in early 1920 Hough toured the country to drum up support for the Campaign. That spring his health suffered from the exertion and he was confined to his home. Finally, in June, 1920, after long debate, Hough recommended that the option on the plot in Chicago be exercised. Two weeks later, still young but in poor health, Hough resigned as president. During the rest of the summer he traveled and preached in England and Scotland.

Subsequently, Lynn Hough returned to his role as preacher, public speaker (on topics ranging from religion and history to public affairs), and professor, as well as being a prolific author with over 40 books to his credit, comprising mostly sermons and essays. In 1930 Hough was appointed professor of homiletics and Christian criticism of life at the Theological School of Drew University, a post he held until his retirement in 1947. He also served as dean there from 1934 to 1947, earning wide respect for his contribution to Drew's academic life. During his entire career Hough received ten honorary degrees as further confirmation of his obvious talents. He died on July 14, 1971 in New York City.

Note: The papers of Lynn Hough are held in the Archives.

 
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archives@northwestern.edu | Last updated 9/8/2009