The Robinson Library

The Robinson Library >> History of Education
Milton Eisenhower

president of Kansas State College (now Kansas State University), Pennsylvania State College, and Johns Hopkins University

Milton Stover Eisenhower

Milton Stover Eisenhower was born in Abilene, Kansas, on September 15, 1899, the seventh son of David and Ida Eisenhower. One of his older brothers was Dwight David, who would grow up to become Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and 34th President of the United States. Most of his brothers were into sports, but Milton preferred intellectual and cultural pursuits. And, although all of the Eisenhower boys were given piano lessons by their mother, only Milton played well enough to give occasional recitals and to organize a dance band.

Eisenhower's first job, while still in high school, was as a reporter for the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle. One of his most memorable assignments was to interview William Jennings Bryan when the noted politician was in town for the Chautauqua. After high school he attended Kansas State College, from which he received a Bachelor's in Industrial Journalism. He then became an instructor there. It was while at the college that he met Helen Eakin, who later became his wife (in 1926). He also met and was befriended by William Jardine, the president of the college.

On advice of Dr. Jardine, Eisenhower applied for a foreign service post and was subsequently given a position in the U.S. Consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland. From 1924 to 1926, Eisenhower handled emigration of Scottish citizens to the United States.

While Eisenhower was in Scotland, Dr. Jardine was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by President Calvin Coolidge, and Jardine asked Eisenhower to be his assistant. In 1928, Eisenhower became Director of Information for the Department of Agriculture, a position he held until the United States entered World War II.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Eisenhower one of the toughest jobs he would ever undertake -- the establishment of the War Relocation Authority for the removal of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast following the attack on Pearl Harbor. After ninety days of planning it was determined that a subordinate could take over the Relocation Authority, and Eisenhower became Associate Director of the Office of War Information.

In July, 1943, Eisenhower left government service to become president of Kansas State College. During his six-year tenure he changed the college from a technical and vocational school to a broad-based educational institution, a process which also changed the institution's name to Kansas State University. He is best remembered, however, for breaking down the system of racial segregation that had previously existed at the college.

In 1950, Eisenhower left Kansas State to become president of Pennsylvania State College. As he had down at Kansas State, he oversaw a broadening of the college's curriculum which allowed the college to become Pennsylvania State University in 1953. His tenure was also marked by an increase in private and federal funding, which allowed the institution to construct a number of new buildings and research facilities.

Eisenhower led Pennsylvania State until 1956, when he became president of Johns Hopkins University, a position he held until 1967.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Eisenhower chairman of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. The commission's report advocated gun control, reform of the criminal justice system, and improvements in law enforcement.

Eisenhower returned to the presidency of Johns Hopkins in 1971, and officially retired from public service in 1972. He died in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 2, 1985.

Although he had made education his career and had a score of honorary doctorates, as a student Milton Eisenhower had never advanced beyond a Bachelor's degree.


Kansas Portraits

See Also

Dwight David Eisenhower
World War II
William Jennings Bryan
Edinburgh, Scotland
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Johns Hopkins University
President Lyndon B. Johnson

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> History of Education

This page was last updated on January 12, 2019.