The son of Russian immigrants who had little formal education, President Wachman grew up in Milwaukee. Thanks to a tennis scholarship, he was able to attend Northwestern University, where he studied history. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern and went on to earn a doctorate in history from the University of Illinois in 1942. After serving four years as a U.S. Army combat infantry sergeant in France and Germany during WWII, he returned to the classroom.
President Wachman taught at Colgate University for 13 years and spent two years directing the Salzburg Seminar in Austria, before becoming president of Lincoln University in 1961. At Lincoln, President Wachman, a white Jewish president, led the historically black university through the most contentious years of the Civil Rights movement, drawing on his instinct to talk through differences and his strong ability to build consensus. After serving as president of Lincoln for eight and a half years, President Wachman came to Temple as vice president for academic affairs in 1969. In 1973, he was inaugurated as Temple's sixth president.
During his tenure, President Wachman eliminated Temple Hospital's $50 million debt, oversaw the co-existence of a faculty union with a viable Faculty Senate and launched a centennial fundraising challenge. He also served as leader of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which distributes scholarships and loans to commonwealth students, and served as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities, an organization that represents 117 institutions of higher learning throughout the state.
In 2005 Temple University Press published President Wachman's memoir, "The Education of a University President." During his retirement, President Wachman continued to play an active role in the lives of Temple students as a professor emeritus in the History Department and honorary chancellor of the university. Between 1982 and 2007, Marvin and Adeline Wachman established four special funds to support student and faculty scholarship at Temple: the Marvin and Adeline Wachman Scholarship Fund, the Wachman Endowed Graduate Research Fellowship in History Fund, the Adeline L. Wachman Endowed Scholarship in Theater Fund, and, most recently, the Marvin Wachman Director of the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy. Afifth fund, the the Marvin and Adeline Wachman History Scholarship, was established in 1992 by the Kohn Foundation in honor of Marvin and Adeline Wachman.
In tribute to Marvin and Adeline, in 2006 Temple created the Wachman Society which recognizes individuals who have made gifts to the University for 25 or more consecutive years. There are now over 400 members of the Wachman Society.
--From Temple University's web site (http://www.temple.edu/newsroom/2007_2008/12/announcements/wachman.html)