John “Jack” C. Hoy ’55, the dean of admissions at Wesleyan in the 1960s who oversaw a radically new commitment to expanding racial, religious, and economic diversity on campus, died July 9 at his home in Duxbury, Mass. He was 79 years old.
Hoy returned to his alma mater only a year after graduating, as assistant director of admissions, a post he held until 1959. He earned a Wesleyan MALS degree in 1961.
In 1964, after heading admissions at Lake Forest and Swarthmore colleges, he returned again to Wesleyan, now as dean of admissions and freshmen, assistant to the president, and dean for special academic affairs.
Above all, Hoy was committed to enhancing diversity on campus, and his efforts reverberated throughout the Northeast and nationally as other colleges followed Wesleyan’s lead.
“Jack Hoy had a historic role in the story of modern Wesleyan,” said Steven Pfeiffer ’69, a student when Hoy oversaw admission and later chair of the Board at Wesleyan. “Jack set Wesleyan on a course of leadership in equal access and racial diversity in American higher education, from which it has not departed over the past almost half century. Under Jack’s leadership, Wesleyan was the first of the top-tier colleges and universities to give African American students of talent and potential a fair shot at what private institutions of higher education like Wesleyan had to offer young Americans.”
In 1969, Hoy left Wesleyan for the University of California, Irvine, where he served as vice-chancellor of university and student affairs. In 1987, he was appointed executive director of the New England Board of Higher Education, a position he held until 2001.
Wesleyan honored Hoy with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1985. He was the author of several books on higher education and served as Alumni Elected Trustee from 1998-2001.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, as well as seven children, including Elizabeth Hoy ’03 and Peter Hoy ’05, and seven grandchildren.