Frank Aydelotte

Frank Aydelotte

Frank Aydelotte (1880 - 1956) was a U.S. educator. He is known for redefining Swarthmore College as an institution while he was president between 1921 and 1940 and was also the director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1939 until 1947.

Aydelotte was born in a small town in Indiana and attended Indiana University where he was an English major, a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, earned a varsity letter in football and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1911. After graduation he became an English professor first at a teaching college in California, Pennsylvania, then at Vincennes University and Louisville Male High School in Louisville, Kentucky. He became a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Brasenose College, Oxford University.

President of Swarthmore College

By 1921 Aydelotte was president of Swarthmore College where he successfully blended the educational processes he learned at Oxford with the traditional Hicksite Quaker values the college was founded on. He expanded the college to an economically viable size and developed a broad-based liberal arts educational curriculum that stressed academic excellence.

He is known for introducing the Honors program at Swarthmore, a program based on his experiences at Oxford. The system is based on the premise that the only true education is self-education, and the idea was to create a set of seminar courses for selected students that were more challenging than the regular curriculum. These students would not receive grades or examinations, but would receive oral examinations at the end of the senior year given by external examiners. This replaced the lecture method of teaching for the advanced students, and introduced the notion of the students reaching the faculty. This method of teaching has become the signature of a Swarthmore College education.

Aydelotte's tenure at Swarthmore was long and his impact was great.

Institute for Advanced Study

During Aydelotte's time as director of the Institute for Advanced Study (1939-1947) the institute had many notable faculty including: Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann and J. W. Alexander. He also wrote "The American Rhodes Scholarships;: A review of the first forty years" that reviews the seven wills of Cecil Rhodes the creation of the Rhodes-Milner Round Table Groups from the first and the Rhodes Scholarships from the last.


*Frank Aydelotte, "The Oxford Stamp and Other Essays and Articles", Kessinger Publishing, (May 1, 2005) ISBN 1-4179-3674-6
*Frank Aydelotte, "The American Rhodes Scholarships;: A review of the first forty years", Princeton University Press (1946) ASIN B0006EUH2G
*Frank Aydelotte, "Breaking the Adademic Lock Step", Harper & Brothers (1944) (No ISBN)
*Frank Aydelotte, "Elizabethan Rogues and Vagabonds", Frank Cass; 1 edition (October 6, 1967), ISBN 0-7146-1099-2
*Frank Aydelotte, "Honors courses at Swarthmore", Columbia (1931) ASIN B0008938RK
*Frank Aydelotte, "Elizabethan Seamen in Mexico and Ports of the Spanish Main", The American Historical Review, Vol. 48, No. 1. (Oct., 1942), pp. 1-19. [ URL: JSTOR Stable]
*Frank Aydelotte, "What the Americans Rhodes scholar gets from Oxford", s.n (1920) ASIN B00088LUVC
*Frank Aydelotte, "Honors courses in American colleges and universities", National research council of the National academy of sciences (1924) ASIN B00087DUWK
*Frank Aydelotte, "The educational program of Swarthmore College", The College (1933), ASIN B0008938SE
*Frank Aydelotte, "The Religion of Punch", The Nation, Volume: 100 • Issue #: 2601 • Date: May 6, 1915, [ The Nation Archive]


*"An adventure in education; Swarthmore College under Frank Aydelotte", Macmillan, (New York, 1941)
*Frances Blanshard, "Frank Aydelotte of Swarthmore", Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Ct. (1970) ISBN 0-8195-4023-4
*Dan West, Nancy Harrison, [ Frank Aydelotte: Architect of Distinction - Swarthmore College Bulletin]
* [ Bibliography for Frank Aydelotte story]

Further reading

* Michael G. Moran. "Frank Aydelotte and the Oxford Approach to English Studies in America, 1908-1940". University Press of America, 2006.
* Michael G. Moran. "The Road Not Taken: Frank Aydelotte and the Thought Approach to Engineering Writing." "Technical Communication Quarterly" 2.2 (1993): 161-75.
* Michael G. Moran. "Frank Aydelotte: AT&T's First Writing Consultant, 1917-1918." "Journal of Technical Writing and Communication" 25.3 (1995): 231-241.

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