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Manuscript Group 022: Dr. Willis E. Pratt (1906-1992) Collection, President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), 1948-1968

Identifier: MG022


  • Majority of material found within 1906 - 1992


3 boxes Linear Feet (Willis Everett Pratt (November 25, 1906-January 16, 1992) was a native of Pittsburgh. He received his BA from Allegheny College in 1927. He earned his MA (1932) and his Ph.D. in Administration (1940) from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Pratt began his career in education as an assistant superintendent of the Erie County School District. From 1938-1941, he served as Superintendent of Erie County Schools. Dr. Pratt was the President of Mansfield State Teachers College from 1941 to 1945. World War II prompted Dr. Pratt to serve in the United States Army. From 1943 to 1945, Captain and later Major Pratt served with the 1675th regiment of the American Fifth Army, and later the British Eighth Army in the Mediterranean Theater throughout the Italian Campaign. First he served as a Civil Affairs Officer of Occupation Forces; second here was a Military Government Officer; and then he was a member of the Allied Commission before returning to the Occupation Forces. While overseas, Major Pratt continued his work in education while he was charged with the reorganization of schools and universities in 15 Italian provinces, during which time he reopened 11 Italian universities. Major Pratt also supervised and assisted in the preparation of numerous Italian textbooks. After being discharged from active duty on October 28, 1945, Dr. Pratt accepted the chairmanship of the Department of Education at Pennsylvania State University. On July 1, 1948, Dr. Pratt became the 16th president of Indiana State Teachers College (ISTC). When Dr. Pratt arrived on campus, ISTC had 1,415 full-time students and 105 faculty members. Long-time Registrar Mary Louise Esch, Class of 1916, wrote about Dr. Pratt in 1968, “the growth and expansion of the college during his administration has been unparalleled. The campus now contains 62 acres on which are located 15 principal halls, 25 other buildings, and three athletic fields, the faculty has doubled in size, enrollment increased to more than 9,100 undergraduate students, and Indiana became the seventh largest college in Pennsylvania.” It was during Dr. Pratt's 20-year tenure as President that the rapid development and evolution of the college into its present status of state university occurred. Dr. Pratt has the distinction of being the last president of Indiana State Teachers College, the only president of Indiana State College, and the first president of Indiana University of Manuscript Group 22: Willis E. Pratt Collection 3 Pennsylvania (IUP). Dr. Pratt continued to serve in the U. S. Army Reserves until 1964, and he was instrumental in bringing ROTC to Indiana in 1957. He remained president of IUP until his retirement on December 31, 1968. According to the Board of Trustees, “The retirement of Dr. Pratt ends the longest tenure of office for any president of IUP since it was established as a Normal School in 1875.” To date, Dr. Pratt is the longest serving and arguably the most influential president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Constructed in 1969 and named for Dr. Willis E. Pratt, Indiana's long-tenured and progressive president, Pratt Hall was originally constructed to serve as the student union building of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Later, after the college became a university and the Hadley Union Building (HUB) was completed, Pratt Hall has continued to serve students by housing a variety of campus offices and classrooms. Dr. Pratt was an active member of the Indiana community, and he belonged to several civic organizations including the Rotary Club of Indiana and the Shakespeare Club. The collection includes Dr. Pratt's personal effects, including his diplomas, plaques and special awards that he earned or received. The collection also contains two scrapbooks documenting his service in World War Two. Information and correspondence from his tenure as President of ISTC, ISC, and IUP are housed in Record Group 11: President's Office Files, Series B. )

Language of Materials


Manuscript Group 22: Dr. Willis E. Pratt Collection, President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), 1948-1968
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Repository Details

Part of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Repository

Indiana Pennsylvania