In memoriam: President Emeritus James L. Jarrett

Western Today staff

Western Washington University President Emeritus James Jarrett passed away on Friday, Sept. 11. He was 98.

Jarrett presided over Western during a period of great growth. From September 1959, when he took over for President William Wade Haggard, until Jarrett's retirement in August 1964, Western hired a number of faculty and built several buildings.

Jarrett hired 60 percent of the faculty who were in place when he left in 1964. And during his tenure, Western added Haggard Hall and the Student Co-operative Book Store (1960), the Highland Hall addition (1961), the Viking Commons (1961), Ridgeway Phase I (1962), Humanities Building (1963) and Ridgeway Phase II (1963).

Jarrett also re-organized and created new departments and programs:

  • Honors Program established (1960)
  • Social Studies department splits into separate departments: History, geography, economics-business-government and Sociology-anthropology
  • Computer Center established (1962)
  • Physics Department established (1962)
  • Chemistry Department (1962)
  • Bureau for Faculty Research (1963)
  • Institute for Freshwater Studies (1963)
  • Master’s Degree in the Arts and Sciences authorized (1963)

Student enrollment also grew tremendously during Jarrett's time, from 2,954 in 1959-60 to 4,441 in 1963-64.

Jarrett received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Utah. His doctorate came from the University of Michigan. In addition to serving Western as president, Jarrett also was a professor of philosophy. He came to Western from the Great Books Foundation, where he was president.

A full obituary for President Jarrett will be posted as soon as it is available.

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 11:36am