Landrum Bolling, the 9th president of Earlham, dies at 104 | Earlham College Skip to Content



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Landrum Bolling, the 9th president of Earlham, dies at 104

January 18, 2018

_1-portrait -bolling _landrum -2004-650pxLandrum Bolling, the president of Earlham College from 1958-73, died on Wednesday, Jan. 17. He was 104.

A world-renowned scholar on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who tirelessly sought for peace in the Middle East, Bolling transformed Earlham into a national and international institution.

“Landrum was an exceptional leader who loved Earlham deeply,” President Alan Price says. “We are all, in many ways, indebted to Landrum’s vision for this College and his continued service and support in the decades following his presidency.”

During his presidency, Earlham gained a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and hired its first African-American faculty member, William Cousins. Bolling carefully cultivated donors, gaining a Kresge Foundation grant and several gifts from Indianapolis philanthropist Eli Lilly. Off-campus and international programs blossomed under his leadership. Facilities added to the campus during Bolling's administration include Lilly Library, Hoerner Residence Hall, Runyan Center, and Noyes and Stanley halls.

At the request of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Bolling headed an international working group studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was the principal author of its report that was published in 1970 and titled “Search for Peace in the Middle East.”

During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, he served as a primary channel of communication between the White House and Yasser Arafat, the former Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

After resigning from the presidency, Bolling was named an Honorary Lifetime Trustee of Earlham. He continued his active involvement in global peace and justice issues and served as a senior advisor to Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian agency.

As a tribute to Bolling's leadership, Earlham named its new social sciences building, the Landrum Bolling Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Social Sciences, for him in 2002. Later Bolling received the 2005 James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Even in his final years, Landrum visited campus and routinely met with Earlhamites, most recently on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Among his many remarks during the celebration, he had shared the secret to his long life and his love for Earlham.

“Maybe the real secret is enjoying life, enjoying people, enjoying what you’re doing,” Bolling said on Nov. 13, 2013. “I would gladly have paid for the privilege of doing the jobs that I’ve had if I had to pay for it. I feel the same way about Earlham College.”

A memorial service in Washington, D.C., will be held on Saturday, February 17, at 2 p.m., in the Robert L. Smith Meeting Room at Sidwell Friends School, located at 3825 Wisconsin Avenue NW.

Earlham will host a memorial service on Saturday, June 2, at 2 p.m. The venue is to be determined.

Information on the Landrum Bolling Endowed Scholarship is available online.

To learn more about Bolling and his many contributions to Earlham, visit

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and

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