On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the flag outside of Ransom Hall flew at half-staff to honor the passing of one of the greatest faculty members in Kenyon history. Bruce Haywood H’80—former professor of German language and literature, dean and provost—died at the age of 94 on Jan. 7, 2020.
Born in York, England in 1925, Haywood came of age during the period between the world wars. Near the end of WWII, Haywood served Britain doing counter-intelligence work in Bremerhaven, Germany for over two years. His experience not only helped spark his lifelong interest in German studies, but would become the basis for his book Bremerhaven: A Memoir of Germany, 1945-1947, which was published in 2010.
After getting his doctorate at Harvard University, Haywood joined the Kenyon community as an assistant professor in 1954 before being promoted to full professor in 1961. In 1963, he was appointed dean and in 1967 he was named provost, a position he held until his departure from the College in 1980.
After becoming dean in 1967, Haywood saw a problem with the direction higher education was taking, and, according to the Oct. 28, 1967 issue of the Collegian, he believed that Kenyon needed serious change to stay afloat economically. To increase the school’s revenue, he proposed for Kenyon to open a women’s college in Gambier that would share the same resources as the current all-male school. The plans that were set in motion for a women’s college would eventually result two years later in co-education, making Haywood one of the pioneers of co-education at Kenyon.
In 1971, Haywood spent some time as acting President of the College, when then-President Willam Caples was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve on his Phase II Pay Board, which required Caples to spend four days a week in Washington, D.C.
After 13 years as provost, Haywood decided that he was ready to step down and return to teaching. According to the Sept. 20, 1979 issue of the Collegian, the College offered to create a brand-new position for him as the recipient of the first Philander Chase professorship. The position would have allowed him to pursue various topics of his choosing in the humanities. However, on March 26, 1980, Haywood announced that he would pass up the unique professorship for the position of president at Monmouth College (Ill.). In a quote to the Collegian, Haywood said, “I would rather spend the final decade of my professional life as a college president than as a full-time teacher.” He would go on to serve as Monmouth’s president until 1994, where he helped grow the school’s endowment from $4 million to $24 million.
While Haywood may be gone, his legacy lives on as not only one of the longest tenured employees in the history of the College, but as the major catalyst in Kenyon’s adoption of coeducation.