Benjamin F. Wright, who taught government at Harvard for 23 years, died Sunday at home in Texas at the age of 76.
A member of the Harvard faculty from 1926 until 1949, Wright served as chairman of the Government Department and as first chairman of the Committee on General Education.
Wright left his position at Harvard to become president of Smith College in 1949. After 11 years there he moved to the University of Texas, where he taught government until his retirement in 1975.
Wright received his master's degree from the University of Texas and his doctorate from Harvard.
Samuel H. Beer, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, said yesterday Wright was one of the key organizers of the general education program.
"He did a superb job of guiding that legislation through the faculty. He met with a lot of resistance but handled it well. I don't think he ever annoyed anyone," Beer said.
Arthur Maass, Thomson Professor of Government, said yesterday that Wright was "a distinguished professor in constitutional law."
Two students who wrote their theses under Wright's guidance later became full professors in the government department. "That's testimony to his excellent teaching abilities," Beer said.
"He was a tough taskmaster. He didn't tolerate fools, but he attracted bright students--he was good for them," Maass added.
Wright was the author of several books. His most recent was published in 1973.
In recent years his research had included American constitutional history, political theory, and a study of Thomas Jefferson for a series of lectures.