Skip to content

College mourns passing of Kenneth A. Nourse, former dean of admissions


Kenneth A. Nourse, who as dean of admissions from 1979 to 1991 admitted a generation of Union students, died Nov. 10, 2013, in Middlebury, Vt. He was 85.

Beyond Union, he was a nationally-known figure who helped to professionalize the field of college admissions and financial aid.

“Ken wanted every student to get a personal interview,” recalled Ann Brown, director of admissions, who was hired by Nourse in 1986. “Even as a dean, he conducted many of those interviews himself.”

In his words, “every visit to Union should be a memorable experience.”

Nourse worked nearly 30 years in college admissions. Besides Union, he worked at Middlebury College, Clarkson University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

In retirement, he was co-founder and president of Fitzwilliam Associates, an admissions consulting firm.

He was author of the 2001 book, How to Write Your College Application Essay.

He served as the president of the New England Association of College Admissions Counselors (NEACAC). He received New York’s ACAC Distinguished Service Award.

He received the Meritorious Service Award from Union’s the Alumni Council in 1989.

A native of Worcester, Mass., he served two years after high school in the U.S. Navy, and went on to Middlebury College, graduating with a degree in English in 1952.

He was elected an alumni trustee of Middlebury College in 1970, joined the staff as director of public affairs in 1974, started the Alumni College at Middlebury in 1976, and later served as the school's director of alumni relations. He was awarded the Middlebury College Alumni Plaque Award in 1992.

He served the Middlebury community in a number of capacities. He was active with Elderly Services, Addison County Home Health and Hospice, and the Town Hall Theater. He was on the board and served as president of the Porter Medical Center. Together with his son, David, he co-chaired the 1996 United Way of Addison County annual fund drive. He was on the zoning board and worked as a lister for the town of Middlebury. He was an avid golfer, sports enthusiast and proud member of Red Sox Nation.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Hamilton Todd; two sons, Daniel and David; and a brother, Bartley. He first wife, Joyce Rohde, died in 2001.

A memorial service is set for Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 2 Duane Court, Middlebury. Memorial contributions may be made to Addison County Home Health and Hospice.