History of the Presidency

Biographical sketches of Penn Presidents (including Acting and Interim Presidents) and historically significant aspects of University history during each administration.

1948-1953

Harold Edward Stassen, President

Born 1907 in North St. Paul, Minnesota
Died 2001 in Minnesota

B.A., University of Minnesota, 1927
L.L.B., University of Minnesota, 1929
Hon. LL.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1948

  • Practicing attorney, 1929-1930

  • County Attorney of Dakota County, Minnesota, 1930-1938

  • Governor, State of Minnesota, 1938-1943

  • Captain, U.S. Navy, 1943-1945 (his military service was performed in the South Pacific, where he was assigned to the staff of Admiral William F. Halsey)

  • U.S. Delegate, San Francisco Conference of the United Nations, 1945

  • Nationally prominent candidate for U.S. President, 1948, but was defeated for nomination at the Republican National Convention by New York Governor Thomas Dewey

  • Director, Mutual Security Administration, 1953, with cabinet rank in the Eisenhower administration

  • Director, Foreign Operations Administration, 1953-1955, with cabinet rank

  • Special Assistant to the U.S. President, 1955-1958, with cabinet rank, to direct studies of U.S. and world disarmament

  • Practicing attorney in the Philadelphia law firm of Stassen, Kostos, and Mason, 1958-

  • Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1958, but was defeated in the Republican primary by McGonigle

  • Candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia, 1959, but was defeated in the general election by the incumbent Democrat, Richardson C. Dilworth

  • Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1966, but was defeated in the Republican primary

Significant events in or aspects of University history during the Stassen administration:

  • 1950: The School of Nursing established as an undergraduate professional school.

Biographical sketches of Penn Presidents (including Acting and Interim Presidents) and historically significant aspects of University history during each administration.