Abraham Lincoln Gordon, a former educator and diplomat who during his tenure as the ninth president of the Johns Hopkins University led the way in 1970 in bringing co-education to the university's Homewood campus, died Saturday in his sleep at Collington Episcopal Life Care in Mitchellville.
He was 96.
"With his shock of white hair and his ever-present pipe, Lincoln Gordon, the newly appointed president of the Johns Hopkins University, looks like a casting director's idea of a college professor," reported The Sun when he succeeded Dr. Milton S. Eisenhower in 1967 as Hopkins president.
"He is a member of a new breed looming ever larger in American public life - the pragmatic academician-technician who moves with facility from the lecture hall to the administrator's desk," said the newspaper article.
It was Dr. Gordon's adoption of a student-faculty-administration recommendation in 1969 that resulted in women being allowed to enter, for the first time in 94 years, the all-male undergraduate program at Hopkins in the spring of 1970.
Dr. Gordon's stormy four years at Hopkins was marked by anti-war protests in the spring of 1970. Even though he had expressed his opposition to the Vietnam War, the university's executive offices were occupied briefly by students.
Concurrently, the university was buffeted by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Faced with an operating deficit of more than $4 million, Dr. Gordon ordered cuts across the board, which engendered faculty protests.
At the time of his resignation in 1971, Dr. Gordon explained to The Evening Sun that he had "no inclination to defend my record or to debate the so-called issues, some real and some fabricated, which have created tensions in our midst."
He added: "I have concluded that the best interests of the university will be served by younger and more vigorous leadership in the difficult years which lie ahead."
From 1972 to 1975, Dr. Gordon, who lived in Washington, was a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution.
In the late 1970s, he joined Resources for the Future, a research and policy organization, in Washington.
For the past 25 years, Dr. Gordon was an economist and later senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, also in Washington.
"He never retired," said a son, Robert Gordon, who lives in New Haven, Conn.
Dr. Lincoln, who did not use his first name, was born and raised in New York City. His father was a lawyer and his mother an NBC and WQXR broadcaster who moderated youth forums on those radio stations.
After graduating from the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale, N.Y., Dr. Gordon earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1933, where he was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
He was named a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University, where he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1936.
"He went through Harvard in three years and was 19 when he graduated. And by the time he was 25, he had published his first book, 'The Public Corporation in Great Britain,' which he revised from his thesis," his son said.
From 1936 to 1941, he was an instructor in government at Harvard. He was also a research technician in water and energy resources for the U.S. National Resources and Planning Board from 1939 to 1940, and a senior economic analyst for the advisory commission of the Council of National Defense.
From 1942 to 1945, Dr. Gordon held a variety of posts with the War Production Board, the final one as vice chairman.
Diplomat during Kennedy-Johnson era was president of Hopkins when the university went co-ed in 1970
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