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Robert Gordon Sproul, UC President

From 1930 to 1958, Robert Gordon Sproul was president of the University of California. Twice during his tenure he was faced with extended vacancies in UCLA's top post.

Robert Gordon Sproul

In 1936-37, Sproul himself took on the job of UCLA provost while a search was made for a successor to Ernest Carroll Moore. Tall and friendly, Sproul had a booming voice that reminded one colleague of "a ferryboat foghorn." His memory was legendary, and it was widely believed that he knew thousands of students, alumni, faculty, public officials and businessmen by name.

Sproul organized the California Club, which brought student leaders of all campuses together. In 1944, he inaugurated the first of what came to be an annual series of all-University faculty conferences where representatives from each campus met with him for three days at Davis to consider previously announced topics of University import and offer recommendations for action. He "commuted" between the two larger campuses (Berkeley and Los Angeles) and visited the smaller campuses regularly. He toured the state annually to personally present the aims and achievements of the University to the public.

In 1950, the sudden death of Clarence Dykstra again left UCLA without a chief executive. On that occasion, Sproul decided to appoint an Interim Administrative Committee, which had oversight of the campus from 1950 to 1952.

Sproul Hall, one of UCLA's four original high-rise residence halls (1960), was named in honor of Robert Gordon Sproul.

Photo from the 1942 UCLA yearbook, Southern Campus