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.
Ol’ Dougie B. ’59 finally gets a building.
Looks like commencement speaker Senator Michael Bennet ’87 isn’t the only Bennet Wesleyan is honoring in the coming weeks. His father, Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94—better known on this campus as Wesleyan’s fifteenth president—will be receiving some attention as well. As Roth slyly announces in the middle of a blog post titled Check Out SWERVED and Good Luck on Finals, “We’ll also be honoring President Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94 and his family by re-naming Fauver Frosh Bennet Hall.” Well, hey. What would former athletic director Edgar Fauver think? The guy personally vaccinated the entire student body during the smallpox outbreak of 1914. Fauver Field was dedicated in his honor in 1959.
Despite a fairly shaky relationship with the student body towards the end of his term, Bennet was no sloucher himself. As Wikipedia sums it all up:
He was the fifteenth president of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, from 1995 to 2007. Before that, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton Administration (1993–95) and Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Carter administration (1977–79), was the President and CEO of National Public Radio (1983–93), and ran the U.S. Agency for International Development under President Carter (1979–81).