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Thomas G. Kessinger presidential papers

Identifier: HCB-001-015

Scope and Contents

The records for Tom G. Kessinger's presidency were maintained by his office staff. The main series of memoranda, correspondence, and other material is organized in three periods, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, and 1990-1995, and alphabetically within each period. Other series include Chronological, Travel, Budget, and Extramural files. There are some large gaps of missing records: there are no alphabetical files after "Parents" for 1989-1990; the 1990-1995 series does not include much material on the 1994-1995 academic year; and there are no alphabetical files for the academic year 1995-1996. There are no significant subjects that stand out in Kessinger's papers. His tenure was marked by the renovation and expansion of some of the older buildings, the construction of the Whitehead Campus Center, and technological advances. While there is evidence to be found on these accomplishments, there is no major source of information on them. Perhaps some of the most telling files are those on Foundations, where funding applications and reports indicate some of the programs being pursued. At the time he was appointed it was anticipated that Kessinger's international experience might bring a broader perspective to campus (Haverford, Winter 1988, p. 2), and some of the records reflect this aspect of his administration. There is almost nothing on the successful $80 million capital campaign. Perhaps the somewhat moderate nature of the material can be explained by what a student characterized as Kessinger's "quiet, stoic leadership" (Bi-College News, February 3, 1996, p. 11).


  • Creation: 1988-1999


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Permission for all access must be obtained from the College Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.


Tom G. Kessinger became President of Haverford College in July 1988. A 1965 graduate of Haverford, Kessinger had taken a two-year leave from the College to enter the Peace Corps where he served in rural India from 1961 to 1963. He got his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1972 and taught history and South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia and University of Pennsylvania. In 1977 he joined the Ford Foundation where he eventually headed its New Delhi office. Kessinger left the Ford Foundation to become Haverford's 11th President in 1988. At his departure, it was noted that he had overseen a successful capital campaign, raising $5 million above the $75 million goal, the renovation and expansion of some of the older buildings, construction of the Whitehead Campus Center, and technological advances (and the naming of the College mascot). Kessinger left Haverford in June 1996 to become the General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Kessinger died in 2014.


22.84 linear ft. (24 boxes)


Tom G. Kessinger papers, from July 1988 to June 1996, are the administrative files of Haverford's 11th President. Memoranda, correspondence, reports, and other material document his administration, although there are several gaps in the records. Evidence of his accomplishments, including the renovation and expansion of some of the older buildings, construction of the Whitehead Campus Center, and technological advances, as well as his efforts to broaden the College world view may be found in these archives.

Custodial History

Transferred from President's Office.

Processing Information

For the most part, the order in which the files were maintained in the President's office was retained. During transfer some of the original order was not maintained, and the processor attempted to recreate what the order had been.

Thomas G. Kessinger presidential papers
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