- Existence: 1916-02-18 -- 1988-12-31 - 1988-12-31
Jean Mayer (1920-1993), President and Chancellor of Tufts University, was one of the world's leading nutritionists and directed pioneering research into problems of poverty, malnutrition, aging, and obesity. His work helped clarify the nature of hunger and obesity and expanded the federal food stamp and school lunch programs. During his 16 years as president, Mayer transformed Tufts into a major research university.
Jean Mayer was born in Paris in 1920 into a distinguished French scientific family. As a boy, he worked in his father's laboratory. At age nineteen, he was admitted to the École Normale Superieure. At the outbreak of World War II, he had earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and a master’s degree in Physics and Chemistry. Mayer earned fourteen medals for his service to France during the war, and relocated to the United States at the war's end.
Having earned a Ph.D. in Physiological Chemistry at Yale in 1948 and a Doctor of Science degree in Physiology at the Sorbonne in 1950, Mayer accepted the offer of a Professorship from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1950. He would direct a laboratory in the School of Nutrition there until 1976, when he left Harvard to become President of Tufts University. After 16 years as President, Mayer was elevated to Chancellor on September 1, 1992.
While insisting on maintaining the highest quality of undergraduate education, Mayer transformed Tufts into a major research university. During his presidency, he would create the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Tufts Center for Environmental Management, and a School of Nutrition, while increasing Tuft’s international presence with the Tufts’ European Studies Center in Talloires, France, housed in the Priory of an 11th-century Benedictine monastery. He would also oversee the creation of a School of Veterinary Medicine on a separate campus in Grafton, Massachusetts, and would create new interconnections between the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Medical School, and the undergraduate college.
In 1968-69, having worked as an adviser to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, he was appointed principal organizer and chair of the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. He served as an adviser to three Presidents, helped develop national policies to combat hunger and improve nutrition among poor and elderly people, wrote 750 scientific papers and 10 books. His personal philosophy -- that scholarship, research and teaching must be dedicated to solving pressing world problems -- helped to establish Tufts as a leader in interdisciplinary approaches to sustaining the environment, fostering good nutrition and preventing famine. Dr. Mayer died unexpectedly on January 1, 1993 at age 72.
Found in 97 Collections and/or Records:
Ambassador Winston Lord receives honorary degree from Nelson S. Gifford and Trustee John Cabot and President Jean Mayer, 1987
Reprinted from the SCIENCE journal.
The collection includes brochures about the HNRCA, correspondence, scientific publications, and news about the HNRCA.
The Center for Environmental Management Records documents the organization's history and activities. The collection consists of course-related materials, such as syllabi and registration forms; publications; reports, including project reports and soil sample reports; and subject files.