President Kendall dies at 101
Glenn Kendall, who led Chico State University as president from 1950 until his retirement in 1966, died March 5 at a Chico nursing home. He was 101.
Kendall is credited with ushering the school into a new era. When he arrived in 1950, it was a teacher-training college with 1,500 students and 78 faculty members. By the time he left, those numbers had quadrupled.
Kendall oversaw the period of growth at the university following World War II, during which 13 new buildings were built on campus and programs such as nursing, engineering and agriculture were added. The historic administration building, Kendall Hall, was renamed in his honor in 1979.
“President Kendall was probably one of the most influential presidents CSU, Chico has ever had,” said Manuel Esteban, president of the university. “Although he retired in 1966, he remained very interested in higher education. … Over the last 10 years, I visited him a number of times. I found him to be informed, interested, helpful and very kind. I will miss him. He was a gentleman. A whole era died with him.”
During his tenure, Kendall was perceived as strong-willed, decisive and at times controversial, such as when he fired John Gardner, who went on to become a successful novelist.
But he was also known as being kind and fair and a good listener. He started the Faculty Council, which became the Faculty Senate, a strong voice for teachers at the university.
Last spring he was presented with a proclamation from Butte County and the city of Chico naming May 4, 2002, Dr. Glenn Kendall Day.
Kendall was born a minister’s son in Tennessee and was a schoolteacher in rural Kentucky before taking on jobs as diverse as Tennessee superintendent of schools and a director with the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. He earned his doctorate at Columbia University. He and his wife, Susan, had three young children at the time the family moved to Chico.
Joe Selak, coordinator of The Inn at Sierra Sunrise Village, said Kendall especially liked working on his memoirs, a project his family plans to complete. “He enjoyed any type of reminiscing. He enjoyed telling jokes,” Selak said.
Jo Miter, a resident of The Inn who became close friends with Kendall when he moved there in 1993, found him both gentlemanly and down-to-earth, enjoying poetry, humor and especially music. “I never knew him when he was at the university,” Miter said. “We all knew what he was and everybody was sort of in awe of him. But he was always very friendly to everybody.
“He loved his fellow man," she added. "He wanted more than anything to get everyone in the world educated."