Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date



Thaddeus Seymour came to Rollins in 1978 as the twelfth president of the College. During his twelve-year tenure, he not only transformed the school through fund-raising efforts, but also enhanced the academic excellence of its liberal arts education and strengthened the relationship with the local community.

Seymour was born on June 29, 1928, in New York City. His father was Whitney North Seymour, a well-known attorney and president of the American Bar Association. Seymour attended Princeton and the University of California at Berkley as an undergraduate. From there, he went to the University of North Carolina, studied eighteenth-centuryEnglish literature, and received his master’s degree and Ph.D. Seymour began his academic career as an English professor at Dartmouth, and five years later became Dean of the College. Before coming to Rollins, Seymour served as president of Wabash College in Indiana for nine years.

While at Rollins, Seymour led the college’s centennial celebration, rededicated the Walk of Fame, raised funds for the construction of the Olin Library and the Cornell Social Science Building, reinstated Fox Day, and actively contributed to various community activities. He served as chairman, vice-chairman, and committee member of numerous academic and civic organizations. Throughout his life, Seymour has been widely known not only as dean and college president, but also an inspiring teacher, a caring counselor, a supportive friend, a charming magician and a leading citizen of the community.

Upon his retirement in 1990, Seymour received an honorary degree from Rollins College. He has also been recognized with honorary doctorates from Wilkes College (PA), Butler University, and Indiana State University. In 1994, he received the Citizen's Award from the Sullivan Committee. Three years later, in 1997, Seymour and his wife, Polly, became Winter Park’s Citizens of the Year, in recognition of their continued service to the community.


This transcript includes interviews with Dr. Thaddeus Seymour that took place over two days, May 25, 2005 and June 1, 2005.

Seymour1.mp3 (3105 kB)
Seymour describes the development of his Fox Day

Seymour2.mp3 (2037 kB)
Seymour discusses courses he enjoyed teaching most

Seymour3.mp3 (1690 kB)
Seymour discusses his transition from teacher to administrator

Seymour4.mp3 (1312 kB)
Seymour discusses why he came to Rollins

Seymour5.mp3 (3173 kB)
Seymour discusses how the nature of Rollins inspires financial contributions