Current Ripon College President Zach Messitte, left, the school’s 13th president, meets No. 8, Fred Pinkham, in June 2016. Tim Lyke photo
Current Ripon College President Zach Messitte, left, the school’s 13th president, meets No. 8, Fred Pinkham, in June 2016. Tim Lyke photo

     Fred Pinkham, who had been Ripon College’s eighth and oldest surviving president, died Tuesday at age 99.

     Pinkham served Ripon College from 1955 to 1965.

     During that period, the college grew financially and physically.

     He was 34 years old when beginning his presidency, making him Ripon College’s youngest CEO and among the youngest college presidents in the country.

     Pinkham had his work cut out for him as he arrived in Ripon after having served as assistant to the president of George Washington University.

    Ripon College was in debt.

     During the first three years of Pinkham’s tenure, the college had a balanced operating budget, wiped out the debt, began construction on six new dormitories, completed Farr Hall of Science, replaced the old dining hall in Harwood Memorial Union with Pickard Commons, received a grant to build an additional floor to Lane Library and purchased a 127-acre tract of land west of Union Street, almost doubling the size of the campus.

   Pinkham also helped found the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, of which Ripon is a member.   

     When Ripon College co-authors George Miller and Robert Ashley published “Ripon College: A History” in 1990, the chapter they wrote on the Pinkham years was titled “Progress and Prosperity.” ...

     For more information about Pinkham and his last visit to Ripon, see the Dec. 5, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.