Richard Chapin, the President of Emerson College from 1967 to 1975, died peacefully at his home in Georgetown, Maine, on Thursday, July 11. He was 89 years old.
A funeral service will be held Thursday, July 18, at 11:00 am at Story Chapel, at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Chapin was the seventh President of the College, and was previously the dean for educational planning at Harvard Business School. A Boston native, he attended Milton Academy and Harvard College. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946.
Among Chapin’s survivors are his wife of 57 years, Maryan; their four children, Aldus Higgins Chapin II, Margery Chapin Carr ’88, Marya Chapin Lundgren, and Richard Dickinson Chapin; and eight grandchildren.
As the President of Emerson, Chapin is commended for leading the College through a socially turbulent time both on campus and around the world, as he was able to promote the College’s academic advancement and continue the expansion of the campus and its finances. He resigned his position after serving his agreed-upon seven-year term in the belief that an institution should allow itself to change its leadership to keep up with its changing needs.
Among his accomplishments, Chapin approved the creation of the Faculty Assembly in 1969 as a way to give faculty more voice and democratic governance of the College. He also helped enhance the College’s curriculum by reorganizing departments and revising the general requirements for an undergraduate degree.
Chapin served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and piloted a supply ship in the South Pacific, according to his obituary. In 1949, he received an MBA from Harvard Business School and remained there as an assistant dean until 1967 before joining Emerson.
After leaving Emerson, which awarded him an LLD honorary degree in 1972, Chapin became a private business consultant, which included working as an arbitrator for both the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Security Dealers.
Chapin served a long list of charitable organizations and was once the president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Blindness.
He loved to sail and be around boats, according to his obituary. He was a member of the New York Yacht Club, among others, and served on the board of the Maine Maritime Museum.
In lieu of flowers, Chapin’s family asks that donations be made to Massachusetts General Hospital, in gratitude of Dr. James L. Januzzi, in support of his ongoing work.