Mason W. Gross is best known as the 16th president of Rutgers, from 1959 to 1971. Before that, he was appointed Rutgers’ first provost in 1949. But in his heart he was a philosopher and took pride in serving as a member of the Rutgers philosophy department, which he joined in 1946.
Gross wrote a number of papers on Whitehead’s work (with whom he studied at Harvard), and taught a course in the Philosophy of Art. As president he presided over a period of vigorous growth of the university - the student body doubled in size in his first five years as president and state funding increased significantly. The philosophy department also debuted its graduate program during this time, in 1969. After leaving Rutgers, Gross became president of the Guggenheim Foundation, a post he held at his death in 1977 at age 66. He was honored by the university after his death when the newly formed School of the Arts was named after him.