Born in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1911 he earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1932 and his Master’s and Doctorate Degrees from Harvard University in 1933 and 1937. Odegaard taught history at the University of Illinois, and then took a leave of absence to serve in the army during the Second World War. He returned to academia when he became the Executive Director of ACLS in 1947. Odegaard became the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Michigan in 1953 and later the President of the University of Washington from 1958 to 1973. Odegaard is credited in transforming the University of Washington to one among the top public universities in United States.

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