J. Paul Leonard taught in the public schools of Springfield, Missouri, and at William and Mary College before coming to California.
When Leonard left his professorship in Stanford's Educational Administration program in 1945 to become president of San Francisco State College, the school was in a period of transition. Leonard saw this as a challenge to put into practice the theories he had been teaching, to take "a college with a creditable history -- remake its instructional program to serve an ever-widening group of Bay Area young people, tie it closely to the life and interests of the Bay Area, build an entirely new campus."
He accomplished just that, restructuring the organization of the college and, with post-war enrollments projected to more than double, successfully fighting to acquire 60 additional acres of land.
SFSU's library is named in his honor.
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