Frederick Fassett (1965-1966)
Ashdown's 3rd Housemaster
Frederick Fassett was the housemaster of Ashdown for one year, from 1965 to 1966.
Graduating from the University of Maine in 1930, Frederick Gardiner Fassett, Jr., (1901-1991) became an instructor in MIT’s Department of English and History, eventually becoming an Associate Professor of English in 1938. An avid lover of journalism, Frederick Fassett was the editor of the Technology Review from 1939 to 1945. Following a brief stint at the director of publications and public relations at the Carnegie Institute of Washington, Frederick Fassett returned to MIT in 1951 where he became the Director of Publications and the Director of the Technology Press.
Shortly before his appointment as Associate Dean of Students in 1952, Mr. Fassett was involved with a new policy at the Institute whereby faculty and their families moved into undergraduate dormitories when he and his family became the faculty resident at Baker House in 1951. Disliking the the term “housemaster”, Mr. Fassett and his wife believed that their role in Baker House was to listen and be visible to the students living in the dormitory, as well as to provide an outlet for confidential conversation. In 1956, Mr. Fassett became MIT’s first Dean of Residence and became responsible for all segments of residential life at MIT.
In 1965, Mr. Fassett became housemaster at Ashdown House following the sudden departure of Francis and Katherine Bitter. A close friend of Dr. Avery Ashdown, the House’s first housemaster, Mr. Fassett served as a necessary bridge until a longer-term faculty candidate could take over the role. Eventually, John and Fredna Irvine were selected as housemasters following Mr. Fassett’s retirement in 1966.
The above information contains information gathered from personal interviews, MIT Tech articles, the MIT Museum Collections and MIT webpages.