Abbott Lawrence Lowell was a U.S. educator and legal scholar. He served as President of Harvard University from 1909 to 1933.
With an "aristocratic sense of mission and self-certainty," Lowell cut a large figure in American education and to some extent in public life as well. At Harvard University his years as president saw a remarkable expansion of the university in terms of the size of its physical infrastructure, its student body, and its endowment. His reform of undergraduate education established the system of majoring in a particular discipline that became the standard in American education.
His progressive reputation in education derived principally from his insistence on integrating social classes at Harvard and preventing students of wealthy backgrounds from living apart from their less wealthy peers, a position for which he was sometimes termed "a traitor to his class." He also recognized the university's obligation to serve the surrounding community, particularly in making college courses available to and putting college degrees within the reach of local schoolteachers. He took the progressive side on certain public issues as well. He demonstrated outspoken support for academic freedom during World War I and played a prominent role in urging the public to support American participation in the League of Nations following the war.