Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Conant, James Bryant (1893–1978)
Marilyn L. Grady
James Bryant Conant was a chemist, a university president, a government official, and an educational reformer. He was especially well known for his studies of high schools in the United States and for the processes used to prepare teachers for American classrooms. Born on March 26, 1893, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Conant studied chemistry at Harvard University, receiving a BA in 1914 and a PhD in 1917. At Harvard, he was a professor of physical and organic chemistry and was tenured in 1927. The American Chemical Society awarded him its highest prize, the Priestley Medal, in 1944. Conant became president of Harvard University in 1933 at the age of 40 and held the position until 1953. As resident, he implemented a number of changes in the university's educational practices. Prior to his administration, Harvard primarily admitted students from the families of the Eastern establishment. Conant, however, wanted to attract the most ...