Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


Printable Finding Aid

Search All Finding Aids

Archival Collections

Manuscript Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
Title:Office of the President (Ell) records
Call Number:A02

Historical Note

Carl Stephens Ell (CSE), the second president of NU from 1940 to 1959, was associated with the University from 1910 when he began teaching surveying on a part-time basis at the Co-operative School of Engineering at the Boston YMCA.  When he received his master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1912, CSE became a full-time member of the faculty of the School of Engineering, which consisted of seven men, and the Head of the Department of Civil Engineering.  In 1914 he became the Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering, and in 1917 Ell was promoted to Dean of the School of Engineering, a position he held during the time he was Vice President (1925-40). CSE succeeded Frank Palmer Speare as President in 1940.

During his tenure as President, CSE was responsible for the accreditation of the College of Business Administration, the College of Liberal Arts (now the College of Arts and Sciences), and the School of Law, and the establishment of the College of Education (now part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), the Evening Graduate Program in Engineering, and the Army R.O.T.C. Program.  In addition, the physical plant of NU expanded considerably under CSE's direction.

In 1943, Ell expanded the University's student population to include women.  While women had been allowed to attend some NU programs in the past (e.g., women had attended the School of Law since 1922), Ell opened the Day Division to women.

In 1953, Ell closed the School of Law, the oldest school at NU, because a lack of enrollment and funding made the continued operation of the school financially untenable.

Through his tireless fundraising efforts and school spirit, Ell turned NU into a cohesive educational institution with nationally recognized programs, an endowment, extensive facilities, and a loyal, active alumni association.

Ell resigned from the presidency at age 70, in 1959.  He personally chose his successor, Asa S. Knowles, a former faculty member and administrator at NU.
1910-1912Instructor, Civil Engineering
1912-1917Head of the Department of Civil Engineering
1914-1917Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering
1917-1940Dean of the School of Engineering
1925-1940Vice President of the University
1940-1959President of the University
1959-1981President Emeritus
Chronology of NU Expansion Under Ell
1941Mugar Life Science Building (Science Hall)
1947Carl S. Ell Student Center (Student Center)
1947-1948North Parking Area (Land bounded by Hemenway, St. Stephen and Forsyth Streets)
1949Greenleaf Building (Tufts College Medical and Dental Buildings)
1950428 Marlboro St.
1951Forsyth Building (Sylvania Building)
1952Dodge Hall (Dodge Library)
1952Land adjacent to Kent St. Brookline property
1953402 Marlboro St.
1954Cabot Physical Education Center
1956Hayden Hall (Classroom-Laboratory Building)
1957Boston Opera House
1957Churchill Hall (Graduate Center)