VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. – Sheldon Hackney, an educator and historian who served as president of Tulane and the University of Pennsylvania before becoming chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has died. He was 79.
Officials from Tulane and Penn said Hackney died Thursday in his home on Martha's Vineyard of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1933, Hackney earned his Ph.D. in American history from Yale.
Hackney served as president of Tulane from 1975 to 1980 and president of Penn from 1981 until 1993. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a post he held from 1993 to 1997.
Tulane University's current president Scott Cowen said Friday that Hackney was dedicated to student learning and development.