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Dr. Jerohn J. Savitz, 1923-1937
Dr. Jerohn J. Savitz was only called president for two months. But for years, he was the principal of Glassboro Normal School, which would eventually blossom into Rowan University.Dr. Jerohn J. Savitz, 1923-1937
Savitz, often referred to as J.J., grew up in Bushkill Park, Pa., and obtained a teaching license at age 16. He earned a master's and doctorate of pedagogy from New York University.
Before becoming Glassboro Normal School's principal in 1923, he held administrative positions at the Boonton and Westfield schools and Trenton Normal School, all in New Jersey. He was president of the State Council of Education in 1917 and a longtime member of the former State Board of Examiners.
While principal of Trenton Normal School, Savitz was highly involved in the planning of Glassboro Normal School. He accepted the new school's principalship on Feb. 2, 1923 and was responsible for selecting its faculty, devising curriculum and overseeing and recruiting students.
A devout Calvinist, Savitz often gave sermons to students during a chapel period and ruled that female students could not wear lipstick, rouge, tight dresses or bob their hair. In those days, Glassboro was virtually an all-girl institution and Savitz was a man of the times.
Under Savitz's leadership, the school boosted enrollment, the number of faculty, developed a sports program, beautified the campus and lobbied the state to provide funds for two dormitories and other projects.
Suffering from severe digestive ailments, Savitz announced his retirement in 1930 and the State Board of Education appointed Seymour G. Winans acting principal. But Savitz returned in 1931 and led the school through the Great Depression.
It was because of Savitz's efforts that the institution was able to make the transition from a two-year normal school to a four-year teachers college. The State Board of Education allowed the normal school to begin granting college degrees in 1934, but it wasn't until the first degrees were awarded in 1937 that the school changed its name to New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro. Savitz, the head of the institution, was designated president.
Savitz retired just two months after the institution changed its name. He had served as principal 15 years before being named president.