Maurice B. Mitchell

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Maurice B. Mitchell "who never finished college yet rose to lead the University of Denver in a decade as chancellor as well as holding leadership positions at Encyclopedia Britannica and National Public Radio, died on Saturday [1996] at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 81 and lived in Santa Barbara...

"Forced by the Great Depression to cut short his education, Mr. Mitchell began his career in various newspaper jobs -- including a stint selling advertising for The New York Times -- but he was as excited about the then-emerging worlds of sight and sound as he was about printing.

"When he was discharged from the Army in 1945, he joined the radio station WTOP in Washington, rising to become sales manager and then general manager.

"Later, as a member of the National Association of Broadcasters, he was instrumental in founding the Broadcast Advertising Bureau, which taught radio stations to sell advertising. Hired by the owner to manage the Muzak Corporation, he helped build it into a huge provider of ubiquitous melodies.

"As head of Encyclopedia Britannica Films in the 1960's, he was a prime mover in the push to use film as a teaching tool. Mr. Mitchell became editorial director of Encyclopedia Britannica in 1962. Under him, the company acquired the Merriam Webster Company, which publishes Webster's dictionary, and expanded internationally.

"Despite his lack of a college degree, in 1967 Mr. Mitchell became chancellor of the University of Denver, where he developed a measure of notoriety for expelling students who had occupied the administrative offices to protest the Vietnam War. During his 10 years at the university, he also served as a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission and as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

"In 1977, Mr. Mitchell left Denver to become president of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara. That same year, he also became National Public Radio's chairman, a position he held for five years, in addition to being a director. At the time of his death, Mr. Mitchell was chairman of the Pacific Basin Institute in Santa Barbara, which sponsors studies on Asian business and society.

"Mr. Mitchell is survived by his wife, Linda M. Mitchell of Santa Barbara; three children, Lee M. and Deborah M. Regan of Glencoe, Ill., and Keith E., of Denver, and three grandchildren." [1]

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  1. Maurice B. Mitchell, 81, Leader Of a College and Public Radio, New York Times, accessed November 27, 2007.