Frank Palmer Speare enjoyed a lengthy career in education even before he came to Northeastern University. Following his graduation from Bridgewater College in 1889, he served for several years as principal of Avon High School in Massachusetts. He also worked as a teacher at Berkeley School in Boston, as director of the evening program in the city of Medford, Mass., and as an English teacher at the Boston YMCA. In the summer of 1896, Speare both taught at Berkeley School and served as a tutor at the Summer Camp Idlewild for Boys at Lake Winnipesauke, New Hampshire.
Speare served as the Educational Director of the Evening Institute of the Boston YMCA, Northeastern University’s pre-cursor, from 1896 to 1916. In 1916 the Institute was formally incorporated as Northeastern College. Speare was elected as Northeastern College’s first president, and was inaugurated in March 1917. He retired in 1940 and was appointed President Emeritus. Speare remained a trustee and member of the NU Corporation through 1954.
From 1918 to 1947, Speare was President of the Board of Trustees and principal stock-holder of the Chandler Secretarial School in Boston, a private professional training school for women established in 1883.
The section “NU Under Speare” describes how Speare transformed Northeastern from a small, loosely organized collective of night classes into a major institution of higher education.