Frank R. Aydelotte


Honorary Degree (1937)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: William Lowe Bryan
Rhodes Scholar (1905)


Franklin Ridgeway Aydelotte's dedicated service and advocacy to American higher education resulted in the creation of one of America's first honors programs at Swarthmore College. He is known for redefining Swarthmore College as an institution while he was president between 1921 and 1940; he was also the director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

In 1930, Frank said, "Our university faculties and our university student bodies contain a great many men and women who are in earnest about the intellectual life. The only thing they need is an opportunity." Seven years later, he was awarded an honorary degree from Indiana University for his service. His visionary spirit has been celebrated across the country many times, as countless other institutions have implemented various honors programs.

Frank was born in a small town in Gibson County, Indiana, and attended Indiana University where he was an English major, a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, earned a varsity letter in football and became one of the first Rhodes Scholars, choosing to study at Brasenose College, Oxford University. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1911, he became an English professor first at a teaching college in California, Pennsylvania, then at Vincennes University and Louisville Male High School in Louisville, Kentucky.