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Johns Hopkins UniversityArts and Sciences Magazine

Former Hopkins President
Lincoln Gordon Dies

Lincoln Gordon, who served as president of The Johns Hopkins University for four years and instituted coeducation here, died in his sleep on Dec. 19 at an assisted-living community in Mitchellville, Md. He was 96.

Gordon, a diplomat under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who had also been on the faculty at Harvard, came to Johns Hopkins in July 1967, following the retirement of Milton S. Eisenhower. A gentleman of the old school, described by those who knew him as courteous and engaging, Gordon was rarely seen without his pipe. He loved to talk, between puffs on his pipe, and he dominated meetings with his lengthy conversations.

His lasting legacy came as a result of a recommendation in 1969 from a student/faculty/administration committee, headed by biology professor Carl Swanson, that the all-male undergraduate program become coeducational. The first female students arrived at Homewood in 1970.

But his tenure at the helm of Johns Hopkins is remembered by many just as much for its marked difficulties, including deteriorating finances, faculty complaints over pay and academic priorities, and student unrest typical of the day. He resigned in 1971.

Abraham Lincoln Gordon, who never used his first name, was born on Sept. 10, 1913, in New York. He was educated at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale, and later graduated with high honors from Harvard and earned his doctorate at Oxford.

In a career that spanned the worlds of academia and government, Gordon spent 25 years on the faculty of Harvard, where he taught classes on government and international economics; was a high-level administrator of Marshall Plan programs in Europe following WWII; and served as ambassador to Brazil. He also was a White House economic adviser to Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an economist at the Brookings Institution, and the author of numerous books.

His wife, the former Allison Wright, died in 1987. He is survived by two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Lincoln Gordon