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Posted 12.04.06

Former Wesleyan Professor, Administrator Dies

Burton Hallowell, a former economics professor and administrator at Wesleyan, died Nov. 21. He was 91.

Hallowell graduated from Wesleyan in 1936. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he returned to Wesleyan in 1946 to teach economics and lead the department.

Born in Orleans, Mass. in 1915, Hallowell grew up in Danielson, Conn. graduating from Killingly High School in 1932 and Wesleyan University in 1936. He received his master's degree from Wesleyan in 1938, and his Ph.D from Princeton University in 1949. He also has five honorary degrees.

During World War II, he served as a civilian economist in the Office of Strategic Services and in 1942 entered the Army as a private, advancing to captain in the Transportation Corps. before his discharge in 1946. He led a group which designed and prepared statistical measures of performance for each of the Army’s corps in getting requisitioned supplies overseas to our troops. These measures were actively used to improve performance.

In 1946 he rejoined the Wesleyan faculty, having been an instructor there in 1941-42, and advanced to full professor and chair of the Economics Department.

Starting in 1949 he also served as consultant to the president of the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company for 11 years.

In 1961 he was persuaded to become a vice president, later executive vice president of Wesleyan. He played a significant role in resolving, with the faculty, the issue of selective doctoral programs. He also started to build a permanent money-raising capability for Wesleyan.

A strong believer in the practical usefulness of a liberal education at all levels of a person’s career; he left Wesleyan in June of 1967 to become president of Tufts University. He saw at Tufts a strong arts and sciences core including undergraduate women and well-known professional schools of medicine, dental medicine and international relations.

He became president of the state Association of Schools and Colleges (AICUM) and brought it from a loose association into a powerful and effective voice of higher education.

He believed in helping the states and localities where he worked and lived. The governor of Connecticut appointed him chair of the commission to allocate federal facility grants among Connecticut colleges and universities. In 1967 the governor of Massachusetts appointed him as the first chairman of the new Housing and Home Finance Agency, which has thrived over the decades in making medium and low income housing a reality.

On moving to Cape Cod, he served as a Finance Committee member for a term in Orleans as well as on a revision committee for the town charter. He was one of the five founders of the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore and a trustee of the Cape Cod Museum of National History.

Hallowell’s first wife, Pauline, died in 1998, and in 2002 he married Joyce, who survives him. He is also survived by his son, Robert; two stepchildren, Deborah Fortin and John Glynn; and three step grandchildren, Emily, Peter and Daniel Fortin