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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era 1945-1975: The Rise and Fall of President George D. Stoddard

The Rise and Fall of President George D. Stoddard

President George Stoddard, circa 1953

George D. Stoddard served as University of Illinois president for seven turbulent years from 1946 to 1953.  He oversaw the major postwar expansion of the University, including the doubling of the faculty and the opening of branch campuses in Chicago and Galesburg for returning veterans.  However, Stoddard was also involved in several controversies during his term.  The University was the setting for conflicts over left-wing student activism, a quarrel over academic philosophies in the economics department centering on Dean Harold Bowen, and a battle over the experimental cancer drug Krebiozen.  Stoddard spoke out and acted against both Communists and political “witch hunts,” but was unable to avoid clashes with the state legislature, certain professors, and finally the board of trustees, who gave him a vote of “no confidence” in 1953, leading to his resignation.

University of Illinois Sources:

George D. Stoddard Papers, 1915-2001 (RS: 2/10/20)

President Stoddard files (RG: 2/10) – multiple series

ARC Reference File:  “George Stoddard”

Reference Vertical Files- “Stoddard, George” (at University Archives)

University of Illinois, Ferment in Education: The Problems, Responsibilities, and Opportunities of Universities in this Time; A Symposium at the Installation of George Dinsmore Stoddard as President of the University of Illinois (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948): Includes chapters by experts on the challenges facing higher education.

George Stoddard, “Krebiozen,” The Great Cancer Mystery (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955): Copies in the archives and the library.

George Stoddard, Paranoids Versus the People (Kalamazoo, 1953).

George D. Stoddard, The Pursuit of Education: An Autobiography (New York: Vantage Press, 1981).

Record of Official Reports and Actions on Krebiozen, from the Office of the President [G. D. Stoddard] University of Illinois, March 14, 1953: Copies in the archives and the library.

Presidential Biographies, 1851-1989 (RS 2/0/17): Biographical

Board of Trustees Secretary's File, (RS 1/1/6): The secretary’s reports include information on the resignation of Stoddard.

Board of Trustees Reports, (RS 1/1/802)

Student Organizations Publications (RS 41/6/840): Box 4 includes publications from the American Youth for Democracy

Wayne A. Johnston Papers, 1945-1967 (RS: 1/20/3): Includes general correspondence with Stoddard.  Box 119-10-2 deals with Stoddard’s resignation.

Donald L. Kemmerer Papers, 1944-92 (RS: 9/5/32): Includes publications concerning the College of Commerce controversy involving Stoddard and the Board of Trustees.

Bowen Case Issuances, 1950-51 (RS: 9/1/820):  College of Commerce and Business Administration Dean Howard Bowen was a lightening rod for controversy during his term at the University of Illinois. 

Legal Counsel Subject File, 1914-70 (RS: 34/1/1): A Krebiozen file contains information on the controversy relating to Dr. A.C. Ivy, President George Stoddard and Rutherford v. A.M.A. (1951-67).

Nicholas C. Wisseman Papers, 2003 (RS 41/20/153) – MA thesis “McCarthyism at the UI” covers Stoddard’s term at the U of I.

Daily Illini, 1874- (Microform in Newspaper Library)


David Caute, The Great Fear (New York, 1978).

Ellen Schrecker, No Ivory Tower (New York and Oxford, 1986).

Winton U. Solberg and Robert Tomlinson, “Academic McCarthyism and Keynesian Economics: The Bowen Controversy at the University of Illinois,” History of Political Economy, 1997 29(1): 55-81.

Nicholas Wisseman, “Falsely Accused: Cold War Liberalism Reassessed,” Historian, 66 (Summer 2004), 320–34.

Chicago Tribune, “Probe Prof’s Resignation at U. of Illinois,” May 28, 1950, p. 1.

Chicago Tribune, “Dr. Stoddard Quits U. of I. After Vote of ‘No Confidence,’” July 26, 1953, p. 1