President Who Took Blue Collar Sabbatical Dies

September 9, 2016

John Coleman, president of Haverford College from 1967 to 1977, died Sept. 6 at the age of 95. At Haverford, as detailed in this obituary from the college, he was widely praised for his leadership, including ending a rule that banned students with beards or long hair from playing on intercollegiate teams, pushing for coeducation (a campaign that led to his resignation when board members and others disagreed, with the shift not happening until later), promoting the arts and expanding the campus. He also dealt with growing student protests over the Vietnam War -- and did so without creating the divisions that so many of his colleagues at other campuses faced. He is probably best known, however, for a sabbatical he took in which he spent time working in blue collar jobs, such as hauling trash and digging sewer lines. He wrote about his experience in the widely regarded book Blue Collar Journal: A College President's Sabbatical.

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