Spencer, Samuel Reid, Jr.

Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr.

(b. 1919) The first president of the Davidson student body to become president of the college was Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr., class of 1940. After graduating summa cum laude from Davidson College, Dr. Spencer, LL.D. served in the U.S. Army during 1940-1945 and was released from active duty as a major. He entered Harvard University graduate school, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. In 1951, Spencer returned to Davidson to serve as assistant to President Cunningham. After three years at Davidson, he was named Dean of Students and Associate Professor of History, advancing to full professor in 1955. He left Davidson in 1957 to become president of Mary Baldwin College. From 1966 until 1968, he served on the Davidson College Board of Trustees. In 1968, he returned once again to Davidson and accepted the office of presidency.

The years of Spencer’s administration were years of positive change for the college. Between 1968 and 1983, Davidson witnessed the introduction of co-education, the active recruiting of minority students, the establishment of the self-selection social system for fraternities, the emphasis on faculty research, and the development of foreign study opportunities for students. In addition, Spencer increased the endowment from $13.8 million to $30 million. Enrollment, also, increased from 1000 students in 1968 to 1350 in 1983.


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Presidents – Works Cited

Robert Hall Morrison, Samuel Williamson, Drury Lacy, John Lycan Kirkpatrick, George Wilson McPhail, John Rennie Blake, Andrew Dousa Hepburn, Luther McKinnon, John Bunyan Shearer, Henry Louis Smith, William Joseph Martin, Jr., Walter Lee Lingle, John Rood Cunningham, David Grier Martin, Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr., John Wells Kuykendall, Robert Fredrick Vagt, Thomas Warren Ross, Sr.

Beaty, Mary D. A History of Davidson College. Davidson, N.C.: Briarpatch, 1988.

Beaty, Mary D. and Sarah Merritt. “Davidson College Time Line and the Evolution of Chambers.” Davidson Journal 1 (1987): 12-13.

Cromartie, Caroline King. The Physical Development of Davidson, North Carolina: An Historical Analysis. Davidson College Honors Thesis, 1978.

“Davidson Apoints Thomas W. Ross, Sr., As College’s Next President.” Davidson College Press Release, 29 March 2007, on the World Wide Web at: <http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x23408.xml>

Davidson, Chalmers Gaston. “Davidson Celebrates.” Davidson Journal 1 (1987): 2-7.

Davidson, Chalmers Gaston. Mid-Point for ’28. Davidson, N.C.: Davidson College, 1953.

Fischer, Karl W. The Mystics and Beta Theta Pi. Germantown, PA: Beta Theta Pi, 1940.

Giduz, Bill. “President Vagt Announces His Plans to Retire.” Davidson College. 8 June 2006. Found on the World Wide Web at <http://www2.davidson.edu/common/templates/news/news_tmp02.asp?newsid=6550>.

“An Honored Career .” Davidson College Press Release, 29 March 2007, on the World Wide Web at: <http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x23404.xml>

Kelley, Robert Lincoln. Davidson College: A Diagnosis and a Prescription. Lancaster, PA: Council of Church Boards of Education in the U.S.A., 1926.

Lingle, Walter L. Memories of Davidson College. Richmond, VA: John Knox, 1947.

Logan, Van Lear. “Growing Up in Davidson.” Davidson Journal 1 (1987): 20-23.

“Presidential Biography. ” Davidson College Press Release, 29 March 2007, on the World Wide Web at: <http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x23405.xml>

Ramsey, Robert Wilson. Milestones Backward Run: The Story of Beta Theta Pi at Davidson,1858-1940. Davidson, NC: The Phi Alpha Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, 1940.

Ratliff, Charles E. Economics at Davidson: A Sesquicentennial History. Davidson, NC: Davidson College, 1987.

Scherer, John P. A Code of Civility: Antiwar Dissent at Davidson College During the Vietnam Era. Davidson College Honors Thesis, 1989.

Shames, Steven A. A Good Faith Effort: Integration at Davidson College. Davidson College Honors Thesis, 1996.

Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah. Davidson College. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1923.

Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah, comp. War Records of Davidson College, 1917-1918. Charlotte, NC: Presbyterian Standard, 1923.

Spencer, Samuel R. The First Year. Davidson, NC: Davidson College, 1969.

Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah. Davidson College. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1923.

“Timeline.” Davidson College Press Release, 29 March 2007, on the World Wide Web at: <http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x23406.xml>

Author: Molly P. Gillespie
Date: 1998

Cite as: Gillespie, Molly P. “Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr.” Davidson Encyclopedia
1998 <http://libraries.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/david-grier-martin/>

Related Entries: President’s House, Presidents of Davidson College

Related Links: Spencer’s Presidential Portrait

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