Just as President George C. Williams helped keep the institution alive in its early years, his successor, Leonard B. Job, enabled Ithaca College to survive the harsh economic times of the Great Depression and World War II.
Recruited by Williams from Ohio University where he was professor of education, Job came to campus as the College's dean on September 10, 1931. Mere months later Williams stepped down from the presidency, and the board of trustees installed Job as the College's third president in June 1932. Confronting him was an institution beset with problems: the consolidation of the affiliated schools was still in process, enrollment was down, and the debt had increased more rapidly than income.
One of Job's first acts was to throw out the commission form of compensation administered under Williams. Job put both faculty and administrators on salaries, then reduced some of those salaries. Being a fair man, he reduced his own salary as well -- but did not always collect it.
Facing a debt of nearly $400,000 by 1936, the College administration had two options: declare bankruptcy or write off the past. Job presented this bleak outlook to the College's creditors in the Ithaca business community, noting that "even the knives, forks, and spoons in the dining room are mortgaged." To force the school into bankruptcy would leave some debtors with unpaid amounts. To start over, Job argued successfully, would allow the school to prosper and the Ithaca community to benefit from its economic contributions.
Paying tribute to Job years later, the College's sixth president would link IC's continued existence directly to his predecessor's tenure. "Some say that Leonard Job willed the College to survive the depression," said James J. Whalen. "I believe that is true, that this institution would not exist were it not for his many years of hard work and dedication."
After World War II began, the College increased its number of academic offerings. During the 1940s, for example, the College added a radio department (now the Department of Television-Radio), graduate studies, and a physical therapy division. Designed initially as a program that prepared students for careers devoted to the physical rehabilitation of wounded or disabled war veterans, the division grew into one of Ithaca's flagship programs.
By 1948 enrollment had risen to 1,471, and the College was outgrowing its existing facilities downtown. Although he considered locations outside Ithaca, Job ultimately decided to stay in town. In 1949 he acquired 200 acres of land on South Hill, now the site of the College campus. To keep costs to a minimum, he did much of the survey work for the site himself, a testament to his fiscal responsibility and dedication to the College.
Job retired from the presidency on February 15, 1957, after serving a quarter century. On October 25, 1965, Ithaca College named its new administration building after him.
Hailing from Putnam County, Indiana, Job was born December 23, 1891. He received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of Indiana in 1915 and 1919, respectively. Job obtained his Ph.D. in 1926 from Columbia University after studying school and college administration in its Teachers College. He also studied finance in Columbia's School of Business.
Job held a variety of government- and education-related jobs between 1919 and 1931, ranging from teacher and principal in Indiana to training officer for the rehabilitation division of the federal board of vocational education, to assistant state superintendent of public instruction for Indiana. Before his arrival at Ithaca College, Job served for five years as a professor of education at Ohio University. A noted authority in school administration, Job published several books, including Financing Public Education in Ohio, Indiana School Law, City School Accounting, and The School Clerk and His Records.
Job died February 16, 1981, in Lakeland, Florida.