Robert J. McMullen
Centre College President (1944-1946)
Robert J. McMullen was born on May 18, 1884, in Blackstone, South Carolina. He graduated from Centre College in 1905 and the Louisville Theological Seminary in 1909. In 1911 McMullen traveled to China, where he would stay for nearly thirty years, serving as a missionary and provost and comptroller of Hangchow Christian College. In 1942 McMullen was detained by the Japanese for seven months in a prison camp, but was able to return to the U.S. in 1943. Several months later he was persuaded to serve as co-president of Centre College along with Robert McLeod, who was on a leave of absence. McMullen took office in September 1944, but was not inaugurated until 1945. During McMullen's short term in office a major fund-raising drive began; Morgan Hall and East Hall were renovated on the women's campus; renovation began on Breckinridge Hall; and Centre made plans to increase its faculty to accommodate the enlarged post-war enrollment. With the war over, co-presidents McLeod and McMullen both submitted their resignations in November 1945, but McMullen was persuaded to remain until the fall of 1946. He returned to China to become the executive secretary to the Board of Directors of the Christian Colleges in China, and to work on a number of humantiarian causes. McMullen died in 1962 in North Carolina.
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