Herman Gerlach James, J.D., Ph.D., LL.D., 1887-1959
Twelfth President of Ohio University, 1935-1943
Educated at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Columbia,
and the University of Berlin, Dr. James came to the presidency at
age 48 from the same position at the University of South Dakota.
With a goal of developing a true university, departments, many of
which were duplicated between the existing colleges of Liberal
Arts and Education, were regrouped in five colleges. Students
entered a degree college after at least one year in the newly
created University College which set minimum standards. A
graduate college was initiated in 1936, the same year a voluntary
ROTC program was established over widespread protests. A Faculty
Advisory Council was instituted at the same time. The student
newspaper changed its name to the Post in 1939.
Dr. James served during the period which adjustments to
economic depression collided with adjustments to a war economy.
The first attempt with branch campuses in Portsmouth and
Zanesville ran from 1938 to 1941. In the spring of 1943 there
was a mass exodus of men headed for World War II. A desire to
participate directly in the war effort, coupled with illness that
forced curtailment of a leave under State Department auspices,
prompted James' resignation. He continued teaching and
consulting activities following his resignation.