Purchase College Mourns the Loss of Dr. Frank W. Wadsworth, First VP for Academic Affairs

Dr. Frank W. Wadsworth

The Purchase College community is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Frank W. Wadsworth, the first vice president for academic affairs at Purchase.

Wadsworth was widely respected as both an administrator and educator. A distinguished Shakespeare scholar, he taught literature here until 1990. “He was equally encouraging to faculty and students, treating junior colleagues and students with the respect usually accorded only to the most senior members of the faculty,” recalls Louise Yelin, chair, School of Humanities.

He was part of the early administrative team charged with bringing Nelson Rockefeller’s vision for the college to fruition. “The goal was a first-rate college experience on a public campus, so people who couldn’t go to the Harvards and Wellesleys could get a personalized and independent education. It was an innovative program with an emphasis on independent study in the broadest, most philosophical sense, so that students would take more responsibility for their education than in the usual undergraduate school,” Wadsworth said in a 1996 New York Times article.

Yelin concurs, “He was committed to the mission of public higher education. He believed deeply in the value of a liberal arts education for all students, not only for those from privileged backgrounds.”

Wadsworth died peacefully on August 9, 2012 and was laid to rest in Arlington, VT on August 14.

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