Looking back

Frank Palmer Speare 1898-1940 Northeastern’s first and longest-serving president, Speare headed the evening program at the YMCA that would later become Northeastern.

Carl Stephens Ell 1940-1959 Called “Mr. Northeastern,” Ell oversaw a building boom on campus that included the original student center, Mugar, Hayden, Churchill, and other current buildings.

Asa S. Knowles 1959-1975 Knowles brought the co-op program to national prominence, and advanced Northeastern’s image as a professional university.

Kenneth G. Ryder 1975-1989 A champion of the liberal arts and an adept fund raiser, Ryder quadrupled the endowment and doubled the budget. Work also began on Snell Library.

John A. Curry 1989-1996 Curry created a smaller, more student-centered university, with a more attractive campus and major renovations, including the modern-day student center.

Richard M. Freeland 1996-2006 Freeland brought the university to rank 115 in the country, just shy of his top-100 goal. He also saw Northeastern receive the fourth-highest number of applications among universities nationwide.

source: Northeastern university

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