From the Argives: Doug Bennet ’59 Becomes Wesleyan’s Fifteenth President

Ah, 1995: the year of the OJ Simpson trial, the fourth busiest hurricane season on record, and my 1st birthday (yeah, I’m a youngster, but I rocked those 90s children’s overalls so hard). More importantly, this week in 1995, Douglas Bennet ’59 was inaugurated as Wesleyan’s fifteenth president.

Bennet is more than just the new name of Fauver (or if you’re anyone who isn’t the class of 2016, the name of the dorm is in fact still Fauver). He has been involved with Wesleyan as a student, a parent, an alumnus, and an administrator.

During his time in the Oval Not-Very-Oval Office, Bennet had his share of ups and downs. Though he greatly improved several important aspects of university life (like nearly doubling the size of the endowment and overseeing the construction of many buildings on campus), he was criticized by some students for the lack of student involvement in Wesleyan’s decision-making process. Eventually, student dissatisfaction with Bennet culminated in a 250-person sit-in outside his office in 2004.

However, back in October ’95, students were super stoked about their new prez.

The Argus article about the inauguration (written by Matt Fogelman ’97) is an “official” piece about Bennet, complete with well wishes and praise from faculty members and administrators. But do not fret: the Argus did have a sense of humor and provided a Bennet goldmine in the back of the issue. One of the gems is a list of quick facts about President “Dougie B.”

Some Bennet trivia you won’t find on his Wikipedia page:

  1. “He was the first person to ever spray paint “McCarthyism Rules!” in the Butt tunnels (now located next to “I love Alanis Morissette”).
  2. “While at public radio he came up with the slogan “NPR is solely responsible for its content.”
  3. “[He] decided to begin his administration with a bang by spearheading a covert action called, ‘Operation Bomb Ampersand.'”
  4. “[He] has a strong, presidential handshake.”
  5. “Once he said ‘hi’ to me.”
The spread also includes the 1994 hit “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest (titled in the Argus as “Dougie B. Drops It”) with new lyrics “inspired” by Bennet. A gold star and a high five goes to the first person who can find (or create) a YouTube video of someone rapping the words (Penny Snyder ’16 gets a shout out for spitting the rhymes but not letting me film her).

[nggallery id=199]