Media Studio created the website,
in honor of Wesleyan alumnus Henry Merritt Wriston, B.A. '11, M.A. '12.
Online Biographic Site of Wriston '11 Debuts
This month Wesleyan's Academic Media Studio premiered
www.henrymerrittwriston.org, a biographical portrait of distinguished professor, college president, and
foreign policy expert Henry Merritt Wriston, ‘11.
Created though support by the Wriston family, the non-profit educational
site was designed to provide textual, visual and audile information about
the life and work of Henry Merritt Wriston and serve as a research portal
for scholars investigating liberal education, college administration,
internationalism, domestic and foreign policy and more.
The website presents a complete biography as well as an interactive timeline
exhibiting nearly 200 original archival photographs organized according to
five eras of Wriston’s life. It features links to additional resources and
a library of more than 100 of Wriston’s speeches, articles, books, and letters
spanning over six decades of his distinguished career. The information is
organized by type, by topic, and by decade for user-friendly browsing, and
the text has been made completely searchable using a custom Google search.
In addition, the media section features five hours of audio clips of sample
speeches of this dynamic speaker, as well as accounts of his life by his
daughter Barbara, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and others.
Henry Merritt Wriston (1889-1978) advanced the ideals of liberal education
and internationalism throughout his distinguished life as a dynamic speaker,
prolific author, professor, college president, and foreign policy expert. A
graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A. 1911, M.A. 1912), Wriston returned to
his alma mater to serve as a professor of history (1914-1925). His doctoral
dissertation, "Executive Agents in American Foreign Relations" (Harvard
University, 1922) became a standard text in the U.S. Department of State.
Wriston served as president of Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin
(1925-1937) and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (1937-1955),
where his tenure had powerful transforming effects. At both schools he
reorganized the curriculum to emphasize his commitment to liberal education,
an ideal he first experienced at Wesleyan and later articulated in his
best-known work, The Nature of A Liberal Arts College (1937). He has been
called "the greatest president Brown ever had."
Wriston also maintained active roles in numerous educational organizations,
including the first president of the Association of American Universities
In Washington D.C., Wriston served as chairman of President Dwight D.
Eisenhower's Commission on National Goals (1960), chairman of the Secretary
of State's Committee on Personnel (1954), and member of the U.S. Department
of State's Advisory Committee on Foreign Service (1956-1958), earning a
reputation as the architect of the reorganization of the Foreign Service of
the State Department. He was involved with many organizations dedicated to
foreign policy and served as president of The American Assembly (1957-1963)
and president of the Council on Foreign Relations (1951-1964).
Wriston served as a trustee of
many boards and was received numerous honors and 30 honorary degrees during
his lifetime. His legacy includes his
many writings and speeches, as well as The Wriston Fellowship at Brown, the
Wriston Art Center at Lawrence, and the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair in
Public Policy at Wesleyan.
By Mariah Klaneski BA '04 MA '07 and David Pesci, director
of media relations