Former President Fred Pinkham dies at age 99

President Fred Pinkham

Former Ripon College President Frederick “Fred” Pinkham, age 99, of Holland, Michigan, died Nov. 26, 2019. He was Ripon College’s eighth president from 1955 to 1965, and was at that time one of the youngest college presidents in the nation at age 34.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945. He graduated from Kalamazoo College and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in education from Stanford University. He also received honorary doctorates from Lawrence University, Kalamazoo College and Ripon College. At Ripon, he oversaw the building of several facilities, including Farr Hall, S.N. Pickard Commons and Kemper Computer Center, which was first built as a medical facility. He grew the enrollment and endowment, substantially raised faculty salaries, and helped found Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM).

He went on to work in the areas of higher education accreditation and on population and humanitarian issues. He was president and CEO of the Population Crisis Committee and was hired by President Gerald Ford as assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Pinkham and his wife, Helen, traveled all over the world assisting developing countries promote programs in primary health care, population and family planning. Later, he was involved with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, recommending grants for funding projects in numerous fields.

Survivors include two sons and one daughter.

Private family services will be held. He will have a cross placed at Arlington National Cemetery for his service during World War II.