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Hovde, Frederick L., 1908-1983



  • Existence: February 7, 1908 - March 1, 1983

Biographical Information

Frederick Lawson Hovde was a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University rugby star, chemical engineer, educator, chief of U.S. rocket ordnance research, and seventh president of Purdue University. He was born February 7, 1908, in Erie, Pennsylvania to parents Martin and Julia Hovde. Hovde received his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota in 1929. Elected to a Rhodes Scholarship, he spent three years, 1929-1932, at Brasenose College, Oxford University, receiving first a B.A. degree and then a B.S. degree in the Final Honors program in Chemistry. While at Oxford, he was a member of the varsity rugby football team and in 1931 he became the third American in history to win his Oxford "blue" in the annual Oxford-Cambridge rugby match.

Hovde returned to the United States in 1932 to accept a position as Assistant Director of the newly established General College of the University of Minnesota. He married Priscilla Louise Boyd in 1933.  The couple had three children: F. Boyde, Jane, and Linda. In 1936, Hovde accepted a position at the University of Rochester in New York, serving as Assistant to the President and Lecturer in Chemistry.

In 1941, following the outbreak of World War II, Hovde was called to government duty with the newly established National Defense Research Committee, which later became a part of the war-time Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). His first assignment was as head of the London Mission of the OSRD. While in England, he received his Master's degree from Oxford University. In 1942, he assumed the position of Executive Assistant to Dr. James B. Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee, in Washington, D.C.

In 1943, Hovde was made Chief of Division 3, Rocket Ordnance Research, of the National Defense Research Committee. In recognition of his war services he received the President's Medal for Merit and was awarded the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom by the British Government.

In January 1946, he began his tenure as President of Purdue University. While at Purdue, he also served as chairman of the Committee on Guided Missiles of the Research and Development Board (1947-1949) and was chairman of the Building Research Advisory Board of the National Research Council (1950-1952). In September 1951, he was appointed to membership on the Board of Foreign Scholarships of the Department of State and served on that board until 1955, acting as board chairman from 1953 to 1955. He served as a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy, Board of Visitors to the Air University, Air Training Command Advisory Board, Board of Consultants to the National War College, and Board of Visitors to the United States Air Force Academy. Hovde was also a member of the Army Scientific Advisory Panel, Department of the Army (1952-1960), chairing the panel from 1956 to 1958.

Hovde served as President of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (1953-1954), as vice chairman of the American Council on Education (1955-1956), and as member of the President's Committee on Education Beyond High School (1956-1957). In March 1960, Hovde served on a special National Academy of Sciences committee which met at the Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air Station to review the ship-building and modernization needs of the U.S. Navy. He also served as chairman of the President-Elect's Task Force Committee on Education in January 1961. From 1967-1970 he was a member of the National Advisory Health Manpower Council of the Public Health Service of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. From 1970 to 1973, he served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.  From 1971 to 1973 he was also a member of the Reorganization Committee of the Indiana State Department of Public Instruction. In October 1971, he was honored with membership in the Indiana Academy. Hovde served from 1972 to 1977 as a member of the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Inland Steel Company from 1959 to 1978 and as a director of General Electric from 1956 to 1979.  He was also a trustee of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation from 1976-1979.

Hovde was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1957. He received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award from the Department of the Air Force in 1961, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Department of the Navy in 1963, the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of the U.S. Army in 1963, and the Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Department of Defense in 1970.

In 1967, Hovde received the Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers and the Gold Medal Award from the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. In 1968, he was awarded the National Order of the Southern Cross by the Brazilian government and the Academic Award Medal by the government of Taiwan. In 1970, he was selected by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to receive its Theodore Roosevelt Award. Hovde was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Investors Mutual, Investors Stock, Investors Selective, Investors Variable Payment, IDS Progressive, and the IDS Bond Funds.

Upon retirement from the presidency of Purdue University in 1971, he was named President Emeritus of Purdue. In the spring of 1975, in honor of his years of service as President of Purdue University, the Board of Trustees of the University renamed the Executive Building the Frederick L. Hovde Hall of Administration. In 1979, Hovde accepted membership on the Board of Governors of the Purdue Foundation, and he became a member of the President's Council in 1980. Hovde received more than 20 honorary doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines from colleges and university throughout the United States.

Found in 20 Collections and/or Records:

Andrey A. Potter papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 527
Scope and Contents The Andrey A. Potter papers document the career, education, and personal life of nationally renowned engineer and educator Andrey Potter (A.A. Potter). Types of materials in the collection include articles; speeches; surveys; research and lecture notes; certificates, diplomas, and awards; photographs; correspondence; printed material; scrapbooks; medals; ephemera; artifacts; books and manuscripts; obituaries; greeting cards; reports; letterhead; newspaper clippings; and meeting minutes. The...
Dates: 1893 - 1986; Majority of material found within 1930-1970; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1979

James Blakesley papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 1, Placement: 04
Identifier: MSA 358
Abstract Materials documenting James Blakesley's tenure as VP and president of the University Club.
Dates: 1965 - 1971

Bruce Rogers papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 35
Scope and Contents Correspondence, examples of work, photographs and ephemera relating to the life and career of typographer and book designer Bruce Rogers.
Dates: 1889-1957; Majority of material found within 1900s-1957

Collection of Student Newspapers at Purdue University

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 99
Abstract Student newspapers documenting student life, unrest, and obscenity controversy.
Dates: 1939-2008; Date acquired: 08/03/2011

Collection on Bruce Rogers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 45
Scope and Contents Correspondence, printed material, audio-visual materials, artifacts and ephemera collected by Purdue University Libraries during or after the lifetime of Bruce Rogers.
Dates: 1886 - 1996

Edward C. Elliott papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 50
Scope and Contents The Edward C. Elliott Papers (1890-1975; 22.8 Cubic ft.) document the life and career of educator and former Purdue University President Edward Elliott. The majority of the papers date from 1940 to 1960. The papers reflect the original order as they were received from Elliott and his family, and therefore have not been divided into series or subject areas. The Elliott Papers document Elliott's education and career, particularly his tenure as President of Purdue University (1922-1945),...
Dates: 1890-1975; Majority of material found within 1940-1960; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1959

Frederick L. Hovde papers, addition 02

Identifier: 20180207

Frederick L. Hovde papers, addition 03

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20190110.1

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 7
Scope and Contents The Gilbreth Papers documents the professional and personal lives of Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth. The collection consists of personal papers, letters, correspondence, photographs, and other memorabilia that Lillian Gilbreth collected during her life regarding her youth, marriage, family, and career.
Dates: 1869-2000; Majority of material found within 1949-1968; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1971

Hovde, Frederick L., May 16, 1972 - August 31, 1972

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2, Series 1, Sub-Series 16
Scope and Contents Twelve oral history interviews with Frederick L. Hovde by Robert B. Eckles.
Dates: May 16, 1972 - August 31, 1972

Frederick L. Hovde papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 51
Scope and Contents The Frederick L. Hovde Papers (1908-1983; 63.5 Cubic ft.) document the life and career of engineer and educator Frederick Hovde. The vast majority of the papers document Hovde's business career, particularly his tenure as President of Purdue University (1946-1971), but also his work for the U.S. government and other agencies on nuclear and atomic energy, weapons research, national defense, and rocket ordnance research. A group of personal papers is included, documenting Hovde's academic...
Dates: 1908 - 1983; Majority of material found within 1946 - 1971; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1982

Horton B. Knoll papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 521
Scope and Contents The Horton B. Knoll papers document Knoll's research, working papers, notes and typescripts for his books, A record of a university in the war years, 1941-1945, published in 1947, and The Story of Purdue Engineering, published in 1963. Also included among the papers is research material, working papers, notes and information related to Purdue presidents Owen, Smart, Stone, Elliott, and Hovde. There is also information Knoll compiled for his intended biography of John Purdue, and historical...
Dates: 1865 - 1981; Majority of material found within 1940 - 1963

Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection documents Purdue University history through oral history interviews with Purdue University professors and administrators. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, compact discs, and digital materials. Interview topics include Purdue history and changes in administration and academic departments.
Dates: 1969 - 1989; Majority of material found within 1970 - 1972

Purdue University 22nd Annual Dinner Dance , April 28, 1971

 File — Box: 1, Reel: 6
Identifier: MSP 265, File 3
Scope and Contents File consists of one audio reel recording of the 22nd annual dinner dance honoring President Frederick Hovde's retirement on a Scotch 175 reel.
Dates: April 28, 1971

Collection of Purdue University Related audio recordings

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 265
Scope and Contents The Collection of Purdue University Related Audio Recordings include audio reel and audio cassette recordings of addresses given by Purdue University professors, administrators, and staff members. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, and digital materials.
Dates: May 7, 1953 - May 12, 1994; Majority of material found within 1971 - 1973

The Purdue University Centennial collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 121
Abstract Congratulatory letters and certificates, proclamations and resolutions, booklets, and other items documenting the Purdue University centennial.
Dates: 1968 - 1969

Robert W. Topping papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 33
Scope and Contents The Robert W. Topping papers (1930-1996; 2.75 cubic feet) collection consists of many newspaper clippings, news releases, ten interviews on cassette tapes and miscellaneous printed ephemera that Robert W. Topping collected, while on the staff of the Purdue University Office of Publications for twenty-eight years. Also included are the files used for his published book; “The Hovde Years,” 1980 and the original manuscript for “A Century and Beyond,” 1988, along with manuscripts for “Gentle...
Dates: 1930 - 1996; Majority of material found within 1966 - 1988

Unidentified Committee Meeting with Guest Speakers, circa March 1956 - May 1956

 File — Box: 1, Reel: 2
Identifier: MSP 265, File 11
Scope and Contents File consists of one audio reel recording of two unidentified committee meetings involving several Purdue University faculty members and administrators. Physical file labeled as audio reel two of four from A. A. retirement ceremony. Committee meeting recordings were overwritten on the retirement ceremony recording.
Dates: circa March 1956 - May 1956

Video and Multimedia Production Services photos

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 148
Abstract Photographs, slides, and negatives documenting the activities of Purdue’s Video and Multimedia Production Services from 1956 to 1977.
Dates: 1956 - 1977; Majority of material found within 1960 - 1969

Harvey W. Wiley papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSF 416
Scope and Contents This collection covers the career of the 'Father of the FDA,' Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, including articles, publications, and correspondence by our about Wiley.
Dates: 1878 - 2003