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UA 002E - Office of the President (Ralph G. Harshman) Records, 1959-1963


Ralph G. Harshman served as BGSU's fifth president from 1961-1963, following the controversial presidency of Dr. Ralph McDonald. He was the first university president at Bowling Green State University to have come from the ranks of university staff, having been a faculty member and administrator at BGSU for 27 years, beginning in 1936.  He had been retired for a year before the Board of Trustees chose him as president, and he agreed to return for a two-year term.

Upon taking office, Harshman acted swiftly to ease the unrest among students and faculty alike, working to instituted a number of policies aimed at improving faculty morale and instilling faith in the University.   He began decentralizing the administration with policies delegating more authority to the college deans. He also invited faculty cooperation in the selection of department chairs and new deans for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Education. Dr. Harshman also worked to restore student morale, largely through the creation of the Committee on Student Affairs.

Duplication of materials in this collection is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection.  As described in the Visiting Researcher Application Form, researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright.

Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections including overlaps between this collection and the collections of President McDonald and President Jerome.  

Biographical Sketch

Ralph Garling Harshman was born November 6, 1893 near Williamstown, Hancock County, Ohio, the son of Will and Alberta Harshman. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 1917 from Ohio Northern University, going on to receive both his Master’s and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1926 and 1933, respectively.

Beginning his career at BGSU in 1936 as an assistant professor of business administration, Harshman eventually became the first Dean of the College of Business Administration. Under his leadership, BGSU gained full membership in the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business in 1954.  As dean, he oversaw an enrollment explosion as the college grew from fifty-one students in 1937 to over 1,400 following World War II.  He also served as Dean of Administration and Vice President before the Board of Trustees elected him to be president of BGSU in 1961. 

In 1963, Dr. Harshman was awarded the “Scroll of Appreciation” by the US Air Force, the highest honor that service may confer upon a civilian educator. Extremely active in university athletics as well, Dr. Harshman served for fifteen years as chairman of the University Athletics Committee. During that time, Bowling Green State University joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and helped found the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Harshman also served as secretary, vice president, and president of the Mid-American Conference.

Dr. Harshman died in January 1974.

Scope and Content

The collections consists of subject files and correspondence, arranged in alphabetical order.

Collection size: 4 legal sized manuscript boxes (2 cubic feet)

Series Description


Box 1:

1: Alumni Activities, 1963
2: Alumni Association Annual Report, 1961-1963
3: Alumni Association Constitution, Amendments, Bylaws, 1961
4: American Association of University Professors (AAUP), 1961-1963
5: AAUP, 1961-1963
6: American College Public Relations Association, 1962
7: Athletic Department Annual Report, 1963
8: Athletic Department, 1963
9: BG City Board of Education-Student Teaching Contracts, 1961-1963
10: Buildings and Facilities, 1963
11: Class Attendance Regulations, 1961
12: Computer Center, Establishment of, 1962
12a: Dedication: Conklin Hall, Joe E. Brown Theater, 1960-1961
13: Degrees Given at BGSU, 1962
14: Discrimination at BGSU and Other Universities-Correspondence/Reports, 1962-1963
15: Distinguished Faculty Award (Samuel S. Casper), 1962-1963
16: English, 1961
17: Faculty Senate-Ad Hoc Committee on Fringe Benefits, 1963
18: Faculty Senate-Ad Hoc Committee to Study Semester, Trimester, Quarter Systems, 1961, 1963
19: Faculty Study Committee (Charter), 1961-1963
20: Foundation-Harshman/Cheek Fund, 1962
21: General Motors Scholarship, 1961-1962
22: Graduate School Annual Report, 1961-1963

Box 2:

1: HEW Questionnaires, 1961-1963
2: Honors Banquet, 1961-1962
3: IUC Committee on the Superior Student, 1961-1963
4: IUC-Administrative Staffing Data, 1961-1962
5: IUC-Basic Data Series, 1962
6: IUC-Biennial Report, 1962
7: IUC-Branch Campuses, 1962
8: IUC-Constitution, 1962
9: IUC-Correspondence/Reports/Surveys, 1961
10: IUC-Correspondence/Reports/Surveys, 1962
11: IUC-Correspondence/Reports/Surveys, 1963
12: IUC-Correspondence/Reports/Surveys, 1963
13: IUC-Correspondence with State Official, 1961-1962
14: IUC-Enrollment Statistics, 1961-1962
15: IUC-Faculty Salary Data, 1961-1962
16: IUC-Faculty Salary Data, 1962-1963
17: IUC-Informational Brochure, 1962
18: IUC-Instructional Salary Costs: Data on Fall Term 1959, 1962

Box 3:

1: IUC-Legislative Activity Relating to Higher Education-Summary 1961, 1962
2: IUC-"Wanted: a New Concept of Financial Analysis for Our Colleges and Universities," by John D. Millett, 1962
3: IUC-Ohio Community College Board-Community College Standards, 1962
4: IUC-Operating Expenditures (BGSU)-1961-1962, 1962
5: IUC-Operating Expenditures Report 1961-1962, 1963
6: IUC-Public Relations Group, [1962]
7: IUC-State Supported Higher Education in Ohio, 1961
8: IUC-Student Fees, 1962
9: Jamrich, John X.-Study of Building Needs, 1962-1963 (sc.)
10: Journalism Activities Committee, Publications Committee, 1962
11: Kurfess, Charles, 1962, 1963
12: Library-Extension Proposal, 1962
13: Library-Henry Crawford Gift, 1962
14: McDonald, Ralph-Correspondence, 1963
15: Memorandums/Official Statements, 1961
16: Memorandums/Official Statements, 1962-1963
17: Mid-American Athletic Conference-Code/Regulations/Revisions, 1961-1962
18: Mid-American Athletic Conference-Financial Aid Report 1962
19: Mid-American Athletic Conference-Meetings/Reports, 1962-1963
20: Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction, 1962-1963
21: National Defense Student Loan Program, 1962-1963
22: National Education Association Questionnaires, 1961-1962
23: Newman Club, 1961-1962
24: North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools Self-Study, 1963

Box 4:

1: Parking Committee-Report, 1961
2: Peace Corps, 1961-1963 (sc.)
3: Phi Beta Kappa, 1961, 1963
4: Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy Honorary), 1963
5: Publications Annual Report, 1962-1963
6: Public Improvements Inspection Committee, 1962-1963
7: ROTC, 1963
8: Sidney Frohman Scholarship, 1961
9: Sigma Xi Society (Scientific Research), 1961
10: Social Policy Committee, 1961-1963
11: Speech-The Problems of a Growing Student Population and Welcome to Faculty and Staff, 1961-1969
12: State Attorney General Opinions, 1961-1962
13: State Department of Education, 1962
14: State Department of Education-Annual Report (BGSU), 1961
15: Student Affairs-Trustees Report, 1962-1963
16: Student Council-Constitution (changes), 1960-1963
17: Student Court, 1962
18: Union Activities Organization files, 1961-1963
19: United Appeal, 1962
20: University Relations Annual Report, 1963
21: WBGU-TV Application to Construct/Operate, 1963
22: WBGU-TV Correspondence/Applications, 1962-1963