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Harvey Hall, Stanford's fourth registrar, dies at 89

Harvey Hall, Stanford registrar from 1950 until 1972, died May 21 at his residence in Menlo Park . He was 89.

Hall, who was the university's fourth registrar, also served as ombudsperson and as chair of charity appeals, the Stanford Historical Society and other committees. He retired in June 1974, two years after he received the university's Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education. The award cited him for his years of "open-minded, fair judgment and his enduring patience through a host of changes in the curriculum."

A 1930 graduate of UCLA, Hall first came to Stanford to earn a teaching credential, and later earned master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia Teachers College. He taught English at Redwood City's Sequoia High School in 1932, then served as assistant dean of men at the College of the City of New York. He later headed the division of language and literature at Orange Coast College in Southern California. During World War II, he was group adjutant and executive officer of an Air Force flight squadron that served in Europe for two years.

Hall returned to Stanford in 1948 as assistant registrar and became registrar two years later. At Stanford the registrar is in charge of logging the good and bad news on students ­ honors as well as suspensions or disqualifications ­ and of publishing the university course catalog and assigning rooms for classes.

In performing his duties, Hall seemed to live by the advice he said he received from his predecessor, J. Pearce Mitchell: "There is no rule that can be used to justify a known injustice." In 1956, Hall discovered a forgotten injustice in the registrar's vault ­ a diploma that had not been awarded in 1910. It was made out to a mining student who would have graduated in 1909 except that his geology professor disputed some of the student's figures in his senior paper. The professor later determined that he was wrong and the student was correct, but the sheepskin never was picked up. Hall made arrangements to have it presented in Los Angeles to the student, who by 1956 was a retired mining engineer.

Hall's patience and fair-mindedness also are well illustrated in his quarterly reports as the university's ombudsperson in 1973 and 1974 when he handled complaints about everything from discourteous dogs, bicyclists and receptionists on campus to disputes over grading and canceled courses, the return of rental deposits and graduation pictures. In his April 1973 report, he gently chastised unnamed administrators for slow response to students with concerns. "Delay often causes anger, and the anger itself causes new problems of human relations, and these problems may obscure the original, more objective one," he counseled.

Hall was preceded in death in January by his wife of 61 years, Marion Dwight Hall, the granddaughter of John McGilvray, a stone contractor who constructed a number of the original buildings on campus, including Memorial Church. Both were active members of the Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club. He was active in the Kiwanis Club of the Peninsula and received its Legion of Honor Award in 1989. Hall was also active in regional and national professional associations and served as president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Hall is survived by his nephews, Gregg Stubbs of Sonoma, Herbert M. Dwight Jr. of Santa Rosa and Robert H. Dwight of Dayton, Ohio, and their families. Private memorial services are being arranged.


By Kathleen O'Toole

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