Gilbert Malcolm (1892-1965)

Gilbert Malcom, 1947

Gilbert Malcolm was born in New York City on October 13, 1892 to Scottish immigrants, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Duff Malcolm. Growing up in the city where his father was a well-known contractor, he attended the Horace Mann School. Among his young adventures was his notoriety as a very early motorcycle racer, setting a local record for an oval track of 70 miles per hour. He later suffered an accident while racing which ruled out any possibility of other athletic participation.

Malcolm entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1911. While an undergraduate, he began his long association with his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi and served as football manager. He had been expelled briefly during his sophomore year for breaching the College hazing regulations, but he graduated nonetheless in 1915. He graduated from the Dickinson School of Law in 1917 and took up employment as a journalist for the Harrisburg Patriot. During the First World War, he served in France with the 79th Division and was a delegate to the organizing meeting of the American Legion in Paris following the war. Malcolm returned to the newspaper, then worked for the Tax Audit Company in Philadelphia before returning to his alma mater in 1922 to begin a remarkable life of service to Dickinson.

Much of his employment at Dickinson involved alumni and development affairs. His first tasks dealt with the million dollar endowment enhancing campaign of 1922-1923, the virtual refounding of the Dickinson Alumni Association in 1923, as well as the launching of the Dickinson Alumnus magazine. His role as editor of the Alumnus for thirty-five years brought him into intimate contact with significant members of the then 9000 Dickinson alumni, who seemed to respond warmly to his attentions. He was appointed treasurer and superintendent of grounds in 1925. After he was appointed executive secretary of the College in 1934, he was able to initiate the Annual Fund, making Dickinson one of the first colleges of its kind to have an annual program of fund raising.

Malcolm served as interim president between several earlier tenures but on June 4, 1959, following the retirement of President Edel, the Board of Trustees elected him as the 23rd president of the College. He served as president for two years, took the position of "provost" in June 1961, and retired after 41 years of continuous service to the College. "Red" Malcolm was an active member of the Methodist Church, a director of the Farmers Trust Company Bank, and for all of his life demonstrative of his Scottish ancestry. On November 6, 1919, Malcolm married Helen F. Bucher of Boiling Springs. Unfortunately, his young wife died in January 1921. He did not remarry until July 1961, when he married Esther Thompson, widow of former Dean Russell Thompson. Gilbert Malcolm died in the Carlisle Hospital following a lengthy illness on July 2, 1965, at the age of 73.

Author of Post: 
Dickinson College Archives
Date of Post: 
Alumnus/Alumna Class Year: 
President - Years of Service: 
Acting, 1945-1946; 1959-1961
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Honorary Degree - Year: