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Jack Arbolino, Creator of AP Test, Dies at 85

Jack N. Arbolino, who helped create Advanced Placement tests for high school students to earn college credit, died on Jan. 7 at the age of 85.

Arbolino received his B.A. and M.A. in English literature from Columbia, in 1942 and 1957, respectively, and worked at the School of General Studies from 1946 to 1958 as a lecturer in English literature and as associate dean. He left Columbia for an executive position with the College Entrance Examination Board, where he introduced advanced placement tests in high schools across the country.

Co-author of The History of Columbia College on Morningside and College Learning, Anytime, Anywhere, Arbolino also wrote fiction for The New Yorker magazine and was a frequent contributor to Columbia College Today. He was a member of the Columbia College Council, a recipient of the Dean's Award for Outstanding Service to the College and chair of the Columbia Alumni Trustee Nominating Committee.

During World War II, Arbolino served with the Marines as platoon leader at Tarawa and company executive officer at Saipan, where he was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. Before leaving the military, he attained the rank of major.

Arbolino served as a panelist and participant in President Lyndon Johnson's White House Conference on Education and was a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges Advisory Council on extending educational opportunities for servicemen. He also served on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Navy Campus for Achievement as well as the Advisory Board on Regents External Degrees of the University of the State of New York. His talents also landed him on television as co-host of the series The FBI: Issues and Responsibilities on WABC-TV.

A lifelong proponent of the study of liberal arts, Arbolino coined an oft-quoted phrase on the value of a college education: "It's so that later in life when you knock on yourself, somebody answers."

He is survived by his four children, Philip, Jennifer, Anne, and John, and five grandchildren.

Published: Feb 10, 2005
Last modified: Feb 09, 2005

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