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President. Dr. John Wells Kuykendall

Identifier: RG02-16

Scope and Contents

Please note that Presidential records are closed fifty years prior to the current year.

The records in this collection overlap with the files of President's Spencer and Vagt as some files were kept across administrations before being transferred to the archives.

The files follow the subject listings of the office and because of the storage and transfer patterns, the subject lists are repeated several times. For example, all files after the Admissions, 1995-1997 may contain Vagt materials. In another case of overlap, the Association of Presbyterian Colleges contains a speech given by Samuel Spencer in 1994. Overall, the files reflect the activities of the President's Office in relation to trustees, faculty, parents, students, and professional associations.

The files contain correspondence, reports, minutes, and memoranda. In many instances there are additional files in the Vice President for Academic Affairs Committee files (RG 3/1.2) for the faculty committees and in student organization files (RG 6/14) for fraternities and campus organizations.

While the collection covers the full range of issues, topics of particular concern or depth include changes to the Athletic program (particularly concerning NCAA Division I status), investments in South Africa, Trustees, and relations with the Presbyterian Church.

While much of the file content is evident from the folder headings some files are less obvious. For example the Oa-Oz files for 1989, 1987, and 1986 contain information about the Office Support Staff organization, including the 1989 petition to change the name from Chambermaids to OSS.

The Pa-Pi 1986-1988 file has information on fraternities, including the closing of Freshman Honor Society Phi Eta Sigma and the Social Science honorary Pi Gamma Nu.

The file on Presbyterian reorganization deals with changes in Trustee representation from presbyteries.

The Project 87 file contains information on the Racial and Ethnic Concerns Task Force, the Symposium on Black Concerns in Higher Education, and the report of the Vice President for Academic Affairs to the Black Student Coalition in 1972.

The Ra-Rh, 1984-1990 folder has information on recycling.

The SCOPE file concerns the precursor to the Harmony Committee and also has information on the Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Concerns. The Robert Schwebke file concerns the donation of the Little Switzerland Property and the Woodrow Wilson Papers file contains correspondence with Arthur Link about the acquisition of Wilson's student notebook as well as information on the Honors College. The Advisory Councils Miscellaneous file includes the records of the Ad Hoc Committee on Grading Systems and the Ad Hoc Committee in support of the American Hostages in Iran. The Minorities Committee, 1989-1991 file includes information on Solidarity Week. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award file contains citations for winners from 1972 to 1992. The International Education Committee file also includes the annual reports of the Non-Western Studies Committee. The N, 1992-1995 file has materials on changes to the non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. The Se-Sh, 1992-1995 file has materials on community service office and projects. The Admissions, 1992-1995 file has financial aid committee reports. The International - India, 1971-1980 has correspondence with Norman Vincent Peale. The Athletics- Women (Misc.) file contains the 1980 proposal for a Women's Volleyball team.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1966-1997


Conditions Governing Access

Please note that Presidential records are closed fifty years from the date of creation. Please note that Trustees records are closed seventy-five from the date of creation.

Biographical / Historical

John Wells Kuykendall, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College in 1959. He received a Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred theology from Yale Divinity School, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Prior to accepting the presidency of Davidson College, Kuykendall served as the Presbyterian campus pastor for Princeton University. He, also, served as professor of religion and campus pastor for Auburn University. In 1982, he was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and was selected as the Outstanding Teacher in the School of Arts of Sciences for Auburn University. During his tenure as president, Davidson College completed a $160 million capital campaign, the largest financial campaign ever mounted by a liberal arts college. Davidson, also, witnessed the construction of Baker Sports Complex and the Visual Arts Center, and six upperclassmen apartment buildings. Two programs receiving national attention were, also, added to the college curriculum: the Dean Rusk Program in International Studies and the medical humanities program.


64.00 boxes_oversize (64 boxes + oversize)




The collection is arranged in three groupings: Trustee committee files, Faculty files, and Administrative files. The Trustee files are restricted for 75 years; presidential and faculty records are restricted for 50 years.

Physical Location

Range A Section 8, Range B Sections 1-2

Mapstand B-1

Immediate Source of Acquisition

President's Office

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the College Archives Repository