Howard R. Swearer; Transformed Brown University Into 'Hot College'

Howard R. Swearer, 59, a former Brown University president who brought the Ivy League school acclaim as a "hot college" during the 1970s and '80s. Swearer faced numerous obstacles when he was named the university's 15th president in 1976. The day he was chosen, university support employees were on strike. In previous years, Brown had suffered a student strike, a takeover of the administration building by minority students, a sex discrimination lawsuit and financial chaos. Swearer was widely credited with resolving those problems during his 11-year tenure. With his personal, patient style, he eventually guided the university away from controversy and toward scholarship. His efforts won Brown recognition as a "hot college" that used slick marketing techniques to woo students. In 1986, Swearer was recognized as one of the nation's 10 most effective college presidents. The next year, Brown was ranked among the top 10 major universities in a U.S. News & World Report survey of 500 people involved in higher education. Swearer also introduced financial stability. He set a goal of raising $158 million and came up with more than $180 million. He taught at UCLA before taking a job at the Ford Foundation. He was president of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., for seven years before moving to Brown. In Thompson, Conn., on Oct. 19 of cancer.

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