One Hundred Semesters : My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned along the Way


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“I have read Bill Chace’s book and found it moving and full of what Nietzsche called ‘joyful wisdom.’ He is the Ishmael of American higher education’s great quest for excellence: he has seen it all, its glories and shames, its triumphs and defeats, its ironies, tragedies, and paradoxes–and he has survived to tell us the tale. He is the best commentator on college and university life since Clark Kerr. And he weaves the threads of his own life and his own struggles into the great tapestry of institutions. His story takes us beyond the roles he has played–student, professor, dean, president–into the life he has lived in these institutions. It has been a good life but not an easy one. And out of it he has drawn thoughtful lessons for all of us who care about America’s best colleges and universities. A wise and well-crafted memoir.”–Tom Gerety, New York University”In his engaging and delightfully honest account of the changes he experienced in American higher education over the last half century, Bill Chace mixes memoir and affectionate criticism as he reflects on his own continuing education in a variety of roles: student, teacher, administrator, on six very different campuses. While deploring the destructive role that intercollegiate athletics has come to play, the competitive commercialization of what was once thought of as the life of the mind, and the cost of attending college today, Chace’s respect for and love of teaching, and all that is best in the academy, shines through the pages of this thoughtful book. Those of us who have spent our lives on a campus will see our own experience mirrored in Chace’s odyssey, and for those who have not, it will be clearer why higher education in this country is admired around the world. We should all hope that ‘loving critics’ like Chace will continue to answer the calling.”–Mary Patterson McPherson, President Emeritus of Bryn Mawr College and Vice President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation”Chace’s book is not a standard memoir but an autobiography of his experiences inside higher education. He had the good fortune to be at important schools at important times, and he had the intelligence and wit to observe carefully what was occurring at those institutions and in higher education generally. In a crowded field, this is a new kind of book: a mixed genre that deftly combines memoir and educational critique.”–Murray Sperber, author of “Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education””If one were to design the experience for someone to write a memoir surveying, critically and thoughtfully, the landscape of post-World War II higher education in America, Bill Chace’s career or one very like it would emerge. I don’t think there is a book about higher education in America that is as thorough, as personal, and as rich.”–Donald Kennedy, former president of Stanford University, Editor-in-Chief of “Science”



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