One word can describe the decade in which Frank Edward Duddy Jr., led the College—eventful.
When the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Duddy as Marietta's 13th president, it was clear their choice was a slight departure from presidents past. "The 13th president of the College was a lithe six-footer with a friendly smile under silvery hair…Dr. Duddy differed much in style from his predecessors. The first MC president born in the 20th century, he was always informal, relaxed, and easy to approach. Almost surely he was the most 'laid back' of all Marietta presidents," wrote Dan McGrew in his book "In the various branches of useful knowledge."
Though laid back in personality, his professional drive led Marietta College to significant changes during his decade-long tenure. Social changes were sweeping the nation as the Baby Boomer generation began entering colleges. Dr. Duddy, who was formerly the president of Westminster College in Utah, had to establish a balancing act for the campus. With the Vietnam War occurring during most of his tenure and the civil rights movement heightening, much of the country was in a state of protest. The Duddy Administration did its best to insulate campus from the unrest occurring throughout society, though most students were steadfast in their desire to have more social freedom at Marietta and to be involved in the governing processes that affected their education.
In the decade that he served as president, Marietta's enrollment numbers skyrocketed from 1,400 to nearly 2,000 students at one point, and faculty increased by one third. The Grover M. Hermann Fine Arts Center was completed and many new buildings were erected, including Marietta Hall, Timblin Hall, Bartlett Biology Building, Andrew U. Thomas Hall and four new fraternity houses. Erwin Hall and Douglas Putnam Hall were renovated and the 20-acre tract of land in east Marietta, where Pioneer Park (now Don Schaly Stadium) sits, was purchased along with about 50 other properties.
During his final interview as president, Duddy gave his closing thoughts on faculty, students, trustees, alumni and his career at Marietta.
"As for our student participation on our various boards, I think the students are learning some lessons they hadn't expected," Duddy was quoted in The Marietta Alumnus. "Committee work is grub work, it's hard work, it's 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. You work by consensus, the chairs get hard and the pencils get dull, and there's a rising sense of frustration that nothing gets done, but I think it does get done."
Duddy, who was often seen during his tenure with a smoking pipe, last visited campus on Feb. 14, 1985, for the College's 150th anniversary celebration, when he was asked to be a guest speaker. He died a year and a month later.
His successor, Dr. Sherrill Cleland, and then-Board of Trustee Chair Carl Broughton gave eulogies for the 13th president.
"Frank's time at Marietta College spanned the golden years of higher education expansion, but was intertwined with the troubled years of the Vietnam War and enrollment declines," Cleland said. "Frank's whole professional life was devoted to American higher education. All who knew him respected him for this personal integrity, his devotion to the ideals of United States private higher education, and for his generosity of spirit and manner."
Broughton commended the late president for maintaining a good cultural and educational atmosphere on campus.
"He was indeed planning for the future, always having a five-to-ten-year plan, which he revised annually. He worked extremely well with his Board of Trustees, and served under three chairmen, Gates Dawes, myself and Frank Fenton. He was always honest and forthright and available to answer questions, which frequently come up in our board meetings. … He will long be remembered by the people in Marietta with whom he worked and shared his interest in the College, and yet his greatest achievement and the legacy he leaves us was to graduate over 3,000 students in the ten-year period, all of whom had good liberal arts education and had great love and respect for their president, Frank E. Duddy Jr."