President Walter C. Coffey (1876-1956) was president of the University of Minnesota from 1941-1945. He was introduced to students in the 1942 Gopher Yearbook. President Coffey noted in the Gopher Yearbook feature about him that the only drawback to his job was that he “met too many old people and too few students.” Coffey supported the creation of the International House in 1942, a misnamed residence that was to exclusively house African American men in order to keep dormitories segregated. Despite major campus upheaval, he refused to ever meet, or to allow his staff to meet, with students over the months of protest about his support for segregated housing. Although he agreed to integrate the house after meeting with representatives of the NAACP, he continued to work with his staff to assure that African American men would not be allowed into Pioneer Hall.
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