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Joseph P. Nye, Former Business VP at Columbia, Dies

Joseph P. Nye, former Vice President for Business at Columbia University and an administrative leader there for nearly 40 years, died Jan. 14, 1997, in Alexandria, Va. He was 84.

His death, in the Mount Vernon Nursing Center, was due to heart failure, said his son, Joseph P. Nye, Jr., of Alexandria.

Mr. Nye joined Columbia in 1939 as manager of John Jay Dining Hall, an undergraduate dining room. He became Director of University Residence Halls in 1950, Business Manager in 1967 and Vice President for Business in 1971, responsible for the University's personnel department, physical plant, dining and residence halls, new construction, purchasing and security.

Mr. Nye was admired for his strong and undiminished attention to students' needs as he rose, over time, to high office in the University. "His interest was one hundred percent in the students' welfare and their quality of life," Jerry I. Speyer, a student leader in 1962 who worked with Mr. Nye and now is co-chairman of the Columbia Trustees, recalled today. "That was where money had to be spent rather than saved, he believed, because that was the formative period in a young person's life."

When Mr. Nye retired from Columbia in September, 1977, the University Trustees expressed their "warm gratitude and highest regard . . . for his forty years of outstanding dedication." His service to six Columbia presidents, they said, was distinguished "by his special and genuine concern for people and by his far-seeing devotion to the educational mission of the University."

Joseph Painter Nye was born June 22, 1912, in Evanston, Ill., and earned his bachelor's degree at Northwestern University in 1933.

His activities included service as president of the National Association of College and University Housing Officers, member of the board of governors of the Hotel Executives Club of New York and treasurer of the Food Service Executives Association. He was active in community affairs in Bronxville, N.Y., where he resided during his Columbia years. He was a member of the board of governors and vice president of Lawrence Hospital there and was president of the Bronxville Field Club.

He lived in Del Ray Beach, Fla., after retirement from Columbia and moved to Alexandria in 1995.

His wife, the former Barbara Brown of Evanston, died in 1995. Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Patricia Allee of Los Angeles, and seven grandchildren. The family requests that memorial donations be made to Columbia University through its Office of University Development and Alumni Relations, Box 400, Central Mail Room, New York, N.Y. 10027.