Robert Maynard Hutchins Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

Robert Maynard Hutchins was the third son born on January 17, 1899 to a Presbyterian minister. HI grandfather was also a preacher but this would not be the path in life that Hutchins would choose. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his family moved to Ohio when he was eight years old. It was in Oberlin Ohio where Robert would go to school; at first the Academy and then the Oberlin College. Timing is crucial in life, and it was when Robert turned 18 years old the United States would enter World War One. Robert and his brother William joined the ambulatory services branch of the Army. He was briefly deployed to Italy but much of his time was spent in Oberlin at a fair grounds creating and constructing barracks. After the war he was granted a medal of honor from Italy (Britannica).
When Hutchins returned from war he began attending school at Yale University. It was here where Hutchins realized that there could be more than one way of thinking. The attitude and thought process of the students of Yale different tremendously from that at Oberlin College. The students challenged prohibition and set the atmosphere of the school. After graduation he enrolled at the Yale School of Law. It was there that Robert felt his true educational experience began.
After graduation he married and eventually had three sons. It was during this time that he taught high school for a year before returning to Yale as an employee instead of a student. The overwhelming attitude of the students was that of Legal Realism; the focus on judicial application based on the good of the community vs. the technical application of the law. This was a new but embraced concept for Robert Hutchins and when he strove to promote it. In his effort to quay the controversy that surrounded the philosophy, Hutchins taught classes such as physiology, sociology, and logic to attempt to amalgamate or partner them with law. His most profound donation to the to Yale was his convincing of the Rockefeller Foundation to fund a partnership between the social sciences, law, and medicine with the creating of the Institute of Human Relationships (Ashmore pg 16).
After leaving Yale, Hutchins, at 30 became the President of the University of Chicago. He remained employed there for over 20 years. It was during his tenure at Chicago that his philosophy of education blossomed into the beginnings of what Perennialism is today. He was considered a controversial administrator for not only encouraging the students to pursue a liberal education, but he also did away with the football program. He felt that success in education could be measured by a standardized comprehensive test and not how much classroom time a student had. This practice of testing out of lecture was not a common one but served to introduce the concept of subject matter knowledge as the emphasis of education. The football program was one of the nonacademic interests of colleges that Hutchins argued should not be part of the high learning process. He...

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