March 24, 2020
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Bruce Haywood H’80, a longtime member of the Kenyon community as professor, dean and provost, and former president of Monmouth College in Illinois, died on Jan. 7, 2020. He was 94 and a resident of Galesburg, Illinois.
A native of Yorkshire, England, where he was raised in the coal mining village of Allerton Bywater, Haywood attended the University of Leeds before transferring to McGill University. There he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees before going on to receive his doctorate from Harvard University. He served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Bremerhaven, Germany, during and immediately after World War II and became a naturalized American citizen in 1957.
Haywood joined the Kenyon faculty as an assistant professor of German language and literature in 1954 and won promotion to full professor in 1961. He was appointed dean of the College in 1963, a position he held until being named provost in 1967. In the 1960s, he was instrumental in Kenyon’s planning to admit women as students. Because of his leadership in introducing the idea, he is often credited as the architect of coeducation at the College.
As a teacher, Haywood was noted for his keen intellect, not to mention his sonorous voice. “Bruce Haywood meant a lot to Kenyon, and to me,” noted P.F. Kluge ’64, who retires this year as writer-in-residence at the College. “What I remember most is his Thomas Mann course, in which we confronted ‘The Magic Mountain.’ And how we realized that this wasn’t just a book title. Kenyon, thanks to Bruce Haywood, became our magic mountain.”
In the early 1970s, Haywood served as acting president during the absences from campus of President William G. Caples ’30 H’61, who was serving as a member of President Richard M. Nixon’s Pay Board. Beyond Kenyon, Haywood was a chief reader for the Advanced Placement program, a consultant to the U.S. Department of State on visiting faculty, and a frequent lecturer at academic, alumni and civic gatherings around the country.
In 1980, after being awarded an honorary doctorate by the College citing its lasting gratitude to him, Haywood left Kenyon to accept an appointment as the 10th president of Monmouth College in Illinois, where he served for 14 years. During that time, Monmouth erased an accumulated debt, significantly increased its endowment and succeeded in reversing a decline in enrollment. He left Monmouth being hailed as the second most important person in the college’s history, preceded only by the founder.
Jacquelyn Condon, Monmouth’s vice president emerita for student life and dean of students, was the first person Haywood hired at the college. “Bruce will be greatly missed,” she said. “Monmouth benefited significantly from his exceptional intellect, devotion to the liberal arts, commitment to financial discipline and cultivation of donors. I, along with many others, am grateful to him not only for all he accomplished at the college that impacted so many, but also for his friendship and mentoring.”
Haywood was the author of the Harvard-published “Novalis: The Veil of Imagery,” a study of the poetic works of the pseudonymous German Romantic poet whose given name was Friedrich von Hardenberg; “Bremerhaven: A Memoir of Germany, 1945–47,” which is being developed as a movie; and two works published by Gambier’s XOXOX Press, “The Essential College” and “Allerton Bywater: A Yorkshire Boyhood.”
Throughout the last several decades, Haywood maintained friendships with many of his former Kenyon colleagues with regular letters and occasional visits to Gambier. Among those friends of long standing was Charles E. Rice H’94, professor emeritus of psychology, who recalled, “When Bruce joined the faculty in 1954, he and his wife, Gretchen, lived in Norton Hall as dorm supervisors. For his interview, he had met then-president Gordon Keith Chalmers, considered at that time the leader of and spokesperson for a well-defined philosophy of collegiate liberal education, in a hotel in New York City. Chalmers, not departments, interviewed and selected new members of the faculty then, and he assembled world recognized scholars in every field.”
The Haywood-Rice relationship was solidified by the lack of laundry facilities in Norton. “The Haywoods had no washer or dryer, while we, as residents of the barracks, had both,” Rice remembered, referencing the surplus military barracks that housed students and others on the site of Lewis Hall in the years after World War II. “They brought their laundry down to our barracks, did their washing, and got our little kids out of bed and played with them. We baked a cake, drank a couple of beers and talked till about 2 a.m. Bruce stayed in Gambier, I went to graduate school in Florida, worked in Georgia for a bit and then moved to California. Bruce and I corresponded through those years, and one summer he and Gretchen came to our home in Palo Alto. Our kids made a paper crown, placed it on Bruce’s head and named him ‘King of Ohio.’”
Haywood is survived by his second wife, Mary Bailey, and a son-in-law, Andrew L. Youngquist ’86. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gretchen Haywood, a wartime member of the Women’s Army Corps whom he met in Bremerhaven, and his daughters from his first marriage, Margaret Haywood and Elizabeth Haywood Youngquist. Burial will be in the College Cemetery in Gambier. Further memorial arrangements are still pending.
“Bruce never forgot his years at Kenyon, and to the end he treasured the College of his time,” added Rice. “Up to his last day, he deeply loved the Kenyon of his years here and never lost interest in every facet of its being. He will now be here always, with his family.”