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Joseph B. Platt dies at 96; founding president of Harvey Mudd College
Joseph B. Platt dies at 96; founding president of Harvey Mudd College

Launching a new college would "clearly be a great adventure but so is jumping off a bridge," physicist Joseph B. Platt wrote decades after accepting the challenge in 1956 to become the founding president of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont. Humor was a continual resource for Platt, known for singing silly scientific ditties to teach his students, but so was consensus building. His ability to lead by suggestion helped him place the school "on a road to success," according to George I. McKelvey, director of development when the school opened in 1957. Of the private college's beginnings, Platt told The Times in 1987: "It was by no means clear … that things...

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