Rutgers University. Dean of Administration

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The period in which John Swink served as Dean of Administration was one characterized by social change, transition, and expansion. Major events occurring before, during, and after his appointment were instrumental in shaping and establishing the foundation of Rutgers, The State University. Just prior to his appointment as Dean of Administration, there was a major internal reorganization. After struggling with inefficiency and role confusion, the Board of Trustees relinquished their authority to the Board of Governors in 1956. The title of the university was then officially changed to "Rutgers, the State University." In their first year of control, the Board of Governors faced many obstacles, mainly due to financial hardships and budget crunches. Financial constraints resulted in the ill-received increase in tuition and dormitory fees. Students organized the Greater State University Committee to protest the increase in fees. The shortage of dormitory and classroom accommodations and obvious lack of space coupled with an anticipated increase in enrollment contributed to a very bleak outlook. Concurrently, the faculty and staff of Rutgers experienced much uncertainty at this time as well. In 1952, The Board of Trustees had instilled a policy stating that any member of the faculty or staff of the University who refused, on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment, to answer questions regarding involvement in Communist activities would be automatically dismissed by the University. At the time, there was a national fear of Communist subversives and activities. However, there was much opposition voiced in regards to this dismissal policy, and the University was censured by both the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Law Schools. In 1957, the Board of Governors made it a priority to revise its dismissal policy.

One major event however helped lift the sagging spirits of the university and catalyzed a nationwide interest in high academic achievement. The orbit of Sputnik by the Soviet Union in 1957 served as a wake-up call to the United States and thus great efforts were invested in "bettering" the educational system of the United States. This resulted in more money allotted for research by the government along with foundation grants and funds from several defense agencies. Federal aid also became more readily available to students especially, for those who wished to pursue a career in science. Before the Sputnik incident, Rutgers had already been grappling with the inadequacy of facilities and the lack of finances needed to fund building projects. Studies performed in the 1950's estimated that college student enrollment in NJ would more than double in the 1960's and 1970's. The State Board of Education then took an active role by attempting to formulate a plan for expanding facilities in New Jersey campuses. Funds for proposed expansion programs would mainly come from a bond issue, pending approval. A proposed figure of $77,000,000.00 would be required to finance all of the University's building projects. In the meantime, legislature allotted a smaller sum ($3,700,000.00) to Rutgers in 1958. Rutgers did not wait idly by for the approval of the bond issue. With funds from the government and other sources, Rutgers began to initiate some of their construction projects. There was also much activity put into planning for the expansion of facilities. Sometime in 1958, amidst this activity, President Louis Webster Jones resigned. In February of 1959, Dr. Mason W. Gross secured the position as University President. In 1960, the bond issue was approved and thus Rutgers began perhaps the largest growth and expansion in the 1960's in all of Rutgers history.

The University experienced yet another reorganization in 1962, and John Swink left his position as Dean of Administration to become the Vice-President and Treasurer, serving as Chief Executive Aid to the President. The position of Dean of Administration ceased to exist once Swink left. Throughout his years as Dean of Administration, Swink was active in both the expansion of both physical facilities and academic programs. In his final position at Rutgers as the Vice President and Treasurer, Swink took on greater responsibilities in the nature of all business arrangements, budget management, purchasing, insurance, safety, physical plant and construction, golf course, and various other areas.

John L. Swink was born in Colorado in 1914. He eventually moved to New Jersey to attend Princeton High School before enrolling at Rutgers. He thus began a long association with Rutgers spanning four decades. As a student attending Rutgers, Swink majored in mathematics and became active in the ROTC. After graduating from Rutgers in 1936, he worked as an audit clerk at Prudential Life Insurance Company for three years while teaching mathematics at Rutgers. In 1939, he became a full-time instructor in the evening extension division until he was called to active duty during World War II in 1941. In 1945, he returned to Rutgers to become the Registrar for the University College in Newark. After earning an M.B.A. from New York University in 1948, Swink went on to become Associate Dean of University College in 1951. Seven years later, he was appointed Dean of Administration and he served this role from 1958-1962. During this time, he also served as the temporary Chief Administrative Officer for Douglass College and the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (Cook College) until new deans were appointed for these colleges. Swink was again promoted when he was appointed Vice-President and Treasurer in 1962. In 1967, he took on an additional role as the president of the New Brunswick-Raritan Valley Chamber of Commerce. After retiring from Rutgers in 1975, he continued to remain active by joining the Rutgers University Foundation, which is an independent agency that raises funds on behalf of the State University.

From the guide to the Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University. Dean of Administration, 1951-1965, (Repository Unknown)

Archival Resources
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creatorOf Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University. Dean of Administration, 1951-1965 Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries
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SNAC ID: 31063474