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Fred Glimp, a Harvard Legend, Dies at 91

6.8.17

Fred Glimp in Massachusetts Hall, 1996

Photograph by Jim Harrison


Fred Glimp in Massachusetts Hall, 1996

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Idaho high-school graduate Fred Glimp was serving in the Army Air Corps in Germany after World War II when he decided to “take a whack at Harvard” under the GI Bill. “I didn’t think I’d get in,” he told journalist David McClintick ’62 in an interview for this magazine in 1997. He did.

Glimp, who died on June 5, graduated with the “Great Middle Class” of 1950, joined the College admissions staff in 1954 and became dean of admissions and financial aid and later dean of the College, and then, after a decade in charge of the Boston Foundation, returned to Harvard in 1978 as vice president for alumni affairs and development. Despite his formal retirement in 1996, he remained a visible and beloved figure at the University and among alumni. In one highlight, he helped his classmates surpass their own reunion slogan, “50 for ’50,” during a Harvard campaign when their fiftieth-reunion gift of $50,119,037—and gift-participation rate—both broke records.

At the time, that total was almost $20 million more than any gift by any reunion class in Harvard history. But the participation-rate record more accurately reflected Glimp’s deeper legacy to Harvard. With his open and unassuming manner, he was, above all, the friendly face of an intimidating place for thousands of high-school seniors and incoming freshmen. As McClintick wrote: “[T]he Westerners whom Fred recruited in the ’50s and ’60s helped transform the Harvard College student body from a group whose majority came from private preparatory schools in New England and the middle Atlantic states to a group more representative of schools of all types across the country. As a senior admissions officer, Fred played a critical role in bringing about that change, as well as in opening Harvard fully to women and minorities.”

 

Read The Boston Globe obituary.

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