Frederick Lawson Hovde


Honorary Degree (1969)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Joseph Sutton


Frederick L. Hovde has translated personal qualities of leadership and vigor into promotion of the educational, research, and public service programs for which Purdue University has won international renown. He has headed Purdue for more than a fifth of its one-hundred-year history, achieving remarkable qualitative and quantitative progress throughout the institution. A Pennsylvanian by birth, he pursued his training in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota from which he received his baccalaureate degree in 1929. As a member of Minnesota's varsity football team, he had been leading scorer of the Western Conference in the previous year, the first of many accomplishments which led to his selection for the Gold Medal Award of the National Football Foundation and the Hall of Fame in 1967. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 1929, he attended Oxford University until 1932 and became both a valued member of the Oxford Rugby Football Club and thereafter an alumnus with B.A., B.Sc, and M.A. degrees.

His career in higher education began at his first Alma Mater as assistant to the director of the General College. Moving four years later to the University of Rochester, he served as assist¬ant to its president for the next five years. With the beginning of World War II, he was called upon for a series of national roles, initially as head of the London Mission of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and eventually as chief, Division 3, of the National Defense Research Committee. Invited by the Trustees of Purdue University to become its president in 1946, he combined continuing national responsibilities with stimulating direction of Purdue. Since then, in addition to inspiring Purdue triumphs on and off the football field, President Hovde has served as a member of national boards and committees concerned with research and development, of the President's Committee on Education Beyond High School, of the President's Task Force Committee on Education which he chaired, and as a director or trustee of numerous educational, financial, and industrial organizations.

Among the many honors he has received are the President's Medal for Merit and the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom. In the year of the Purdue University Centennial observance, Indiana University joins sixteen other institutions of higher learning that have awarded honorary degrees to him.