Rev. Hutchison was unanimously elected the seventh president of Washington & Jefferson College November 13, 1931, and was inaugurated April 2, 1932. He was born in Colorado February 27, 1898, and was graduated from Lafayette College in 1918. He served in the United States Naval Aviation Corps from May to November of 1918. In 1919 he received his Master's degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1925. He also attended Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church on April 21, 1922. Before his arrival at W & J he was Dean of the American University at Teheran, Iran. In 1930 Lafayette College conferred the Doctor of Divinity degree on Dr. Hutchison.
During World War II, the War Department chose Washington & Jefferson for the establishment of its Army Administration School and the Army Specialized Training Program, the only Army training school devoted to personnel classification methods and procedures. In 1943 Dr. Hutchison was appointed Director of Civilian Defense for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Governor Edward Martin and was given cabinet status by Governor Martin for the duration of the war. "Trustee action authorizing this loan of the President concludes with these words, 'This arrangement shall be approved as a further contribution of Washington and Jefferson College to the winning of the war.'" -Alumni Bulletin, March 1943. He was also director of the Pennsylvania United War Fund Program. President Hutchison resigned May 7, 1945, to accept the presidency of his alma mater, Lafayette College, which he held for 12 years. He died March 15, 1966, at the age of 68. At the time of his death he was president and executive director of Studies in Higher Education, a research firm in the field of colleges and universities in Philadelphia.
Under his administration South Campus, between East Wheeling and East Maiden Streets, was extended and improved. The Jesse W. Lazear Chemistry Building was constructed. The Seminary building was purchased and renovated and dedicated as McIlvaine Hall in 1940. This building campaign also included the erection of the John L. Stewart Memorial bell tower on McIlvaine Hall. The old Seminary dormitory facing East Maiden Street was razed and the space landscaped. The Reed residence on Maiden Street (now Davis Hall) was purchased for use as a dormitory. "The main entrance to the campus was located on East Maiden Street, so that tourists on U.S. Route 40 may see the College when going in either direction." - Alumni Bulletin, May 1940. South Campus and its three buildings were dedicated on October 26, 1940. This campus development was part of Dr. Hutchison's role in strengthening the science department.
Photograph courtesy of Observer Publishing Company.