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Drew University Mourns the Passing of Former President Vivian Bull

Dr. Bull taught economics for 32 years, concurrently serving as associate dean for eight

August 2022 – Drew University is saddened to announce the passing of Vivian Bull, former president, associate dean, and professor, at the age of 87 last week.

Dr. Vivian A. Bull served as an economics professor at Drew for 32 years from 1960 to 1992 and as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1978 to 1986.

Bull left Drew in 1992 to begin a 13-year stint as president of Linfield College in Oregon, a term that earned her president emerita status upon her retirement.

An esteemed member of the Drew community and longtime Madison resident, Bull came out of retirement from 2012 to 2014 to serve a two-year interim term as Drew’s 12th president.

“You know, there’s something about Drew. It has a way of becoming part of the people associated with it,” she said at the time.

During her presidency, the Hall of Sciences underwent extensive renovations and Drew began its still-active partnership with the global education organization INTO to increase international enrollment.

In honor of her service to the University in all of her roles, Bull was named president emerita in July 2014, and was honored with the naming of the Vivian A. Bull Academic Commons in the University library.

Bull graduated from Albion College where she was the first student awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, which led to her studying at the London School of Economics.

She met her future husband, Dr. Robert J. Bull, on a trip to Jerusalem and followed him to Drew in 1955. He taught in the Drew Theological School for 37 years and retired in 1991 as professor emeritus of church history. The couple had two sons, R. Camper Bull C’91 and W. Carlson Bull.

Bull started at Drew herself five years after her husband, accepting a part-time job teaching accounting. She eventually accepted a full-time role under the condition that she get a PhD, which she earned at NYU.

As a faculty member, Bull led Drew’s Semester on the European Community in Brussels four times and embarked on more than 20 Drew-organized archaeological digs in the Middle East.

In the resolution of distinguished service that officially bestowed her president emerita status, Bull was praised for the attributes that set her apart – her selfless service, exceptional wisdom, creativity, fairness, patience, and offering the valuable perspective from her long an exemplary career as an educator, a university administrator, and a scholar.

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