Fred Hargadon, former dean of admission, passed away on Jan. 15, 2014
Fare thee well my friend. I am sure your mother will be glad to see you even though she may think that you have arrived a bit early. Cheers!
Dean Fred admitted me to Princeton in 2001 and was my father’s Dean at Swarthmore in the 60′s. When my father (who didn’t know him well) introduced me to him I remember feeling shocked and honored that he remembered some of the details in my application. But that was his style. He had a personal connection with an enormous number of students and a presence on campus that made everyone feel honored to be around him. I will remember the moment when I received my YES! letter for the rest of my life. Dean Fred, we will miss you but your legacy lives on.
Dean Fred knew the name of each student on campus, and he greeted us by name when we walked past his office. Thank you, Dean Fred, for your legacy and your time and commitment to making Princeton University what was then, and what it is today.
I will always remember Fred’s deep humanity, and the respect that he showed for everyone. He was an inspiration to us all.
So sad to hear of Dean Hargadon’s passing. As a high schiool college counselor, I was fortunate to spend a sabbatical year working under Fred as an admission officer during his first year at Princeton. I had known Fred — from a distance and by reputation — during his tenure at Stanford; he was considered the Dean of Admission Deans. I came to understand first-hand just how brilliant, how fair, how thoughtful this remarkable man was. I knew him personally only one year, but he made a huge impact on my life. And yes, he actually read every single application. He was extraordinary, simply.
I loved this man – he was bold, brash, and crusty – and he picked me off the vine and brought me into the wine press of Princeton. I loved this man – he was clever, winsome, and very good at what he did – as a member of the schools committee feeling I was taking a mid-term with each submitted report of his masterfully crafted interview format, and a few ‘conversations.’ I smile every time I think of Dean Hargadon – and will continue to do so.
When I attended the Harvard Summer Institute for new people to the field of College Admissions back in the ’80′s, Dean Hargadon (who was on the faculty of the Summer Institute) challenged us on two things that continue to this day to impact me. One was said as he observed many of us and our discipline of daily physical exercise. He challenged us to make our minds fit; he then shared that he spends a focused hour each morning listening to music that is unfamiliar, or reading in areas outside his work. I wondered what a life made up of 1hr daily personal enrichment would amount to – a very rich one indeed. The second thing that sticks in my mind is a comment he said not unrelated to what I just wrote. He said, “the person you spend the rest of your life with is yourself, you owe it to yourself to be interesting.” He continued to say, “if you are sitting for a train and it’s delayed two hours and you have nothing with you to read, you should be able to entertain your own mind.” I am grateful for his impact on my life. His legacy lives on.