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Paul Ylvisaker lecture at the Conference on Urban Development digital audio recording

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0618

Scope and Contents

The Paul Ylvisaker Conference on Urban Development audio recording contains a digital recording of a lecture given by Paul Ylvisaker in April 1973 at the Rochester Institute of Technology on the subject of Urban Development. Ylvisaker discusses changes in the urban environment and the possible future shift back to previous beliefs on family. Original cassette recordings were digitized on 2/20/2015.


  • Creation: 1973

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Norman Ylvisaker (1921-1992) was a noted city planner, government official, foundation executive, and dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was known for his efforts in addressing urban issues and philanthropy and committing the Harvard Graduate School of Education to a public service mission.

Ylvisaker was born on November 28, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota and was educated at Bethany Lutheran Junior College (A.A. 1940), Mankato State College (B.S. 1942), the University of Minnesota , and Harvard. At Harvard he was a Littauer Fellow and received the Master of Public Administration degree in 1945 and the Ph.D. in political economics and government in 1948. Ylvisaker was a Senior Fulbright Research scholar in England during 1951-52.

His professional career began as a member of the staff of the Blue Earth County Council on Intergovernmental Relations from 1943-1946. He was teaching at Swarthmore and was Executive Secretary to the Mayor of Philadelphia in 1955, when he joined the staff of the Ford Foundation, where he served in the Foundation's Public Affairs Program from 1955-1967. His post there took him to India and Japan for urban planning projects. In Japan he was technical assistant in a United Nations position from 1960-1962, and in 1964. He spent three years (1967-1970) as Commissioner of Community Affairs for the state of New Jersey, where he restored the Department of Education and enacted a plan for the conservation and development of 18,000 acres of New Jersey meadowlands. He also helped to resolve the Newark riots in 1967 by encouraging more peaceful methods of control. He was asked to submit his resignation by the incoming Republican governor, Cahill, in December 1969 as part of a cabinet sweep. He spent a year teaching at Yale , joined the Princeton faculty in 1970 as Professor of Public Affairs and Urban Planning, and then became dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ylvisaker's teaching career at Harvard began as a tutor and teaching fellow at Harvard from 1945-1947, and then as an instructor in 1948. He was then a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1968-1969. In September 1972, Ylvisaker became dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education at a time when the school was facing financial difficulties and a loss of confidence. Serving the school also as the Charles William Eliot professor of education, he led the school through a decade of transformation, encouraging the education school to explore broad education theory and philosophy and child development. Later, he focused on practical skills, with courses on politics, computers, school leadership and community support. He also worked to raise the ratio of women and minority students at the school. After serving as dean for 10 years, he remained on the faculty as the C.W. Eliot professor, teaching ethics and philanthropy until 1992.

The foundations, consulting activities, and committees in which Ylvisaker participated are wide-ranging. For example, during his career he served on the boards of the New Jersey Education Consortium, the Hispanic Policy Development Project, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the Dayton Hudson Corporation. He served on a United States Public Health Service Health Exchange Mission to Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1964 and in 1966, he served as chair of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Task Force on Cities. From 1972-1973, he was department chair of the task force on land use and urban growth in the Citizen's Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality, and from 1984-1986, was a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Regents and was chair of the Committee on National Urban Policy of the National Research Council. From 1984-1985, he was co-chair of the National Commission on Secondary Schooling for Hispanics. In 1990, he received the Council on Foundations' Distinguished Grantmaker's Award. His many writings include Intergovernmental Relations at the Grassroots, 1955; Battle of Blue Earth County, 1955; The Role of Private Philanthropy in Public Affairs, 1975; and Foundations and Non-Profit Agencies, 1987.

He was married to his wife, Barbara, for 45 years. He was survived by four children when he died in March 1992 at age 70.



1 Digital File(s) (Digital Audio File)




Audio file of a lecture presented by Paul Ylvisaker at the 1973Conference on Urban Development held at RIT. The collection includes one audio file.


There is only one item in the collection.

Physical Location

For access, contact RIT Archive Collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in the collection were given to the RIT Archive Collections by Lauralee Over of the Communications Department in 1976.

Accession number(s): 1976:001

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jennifer Roeszies in September 2015.

Paul Ylvisaker lecture at the Conference on Urban Development digital audio recording
RIT Archives
Jennifer Roeszies
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA