Lester Wolfson was IU South Bend's first and longest reigning Chancellor. During his tenure, Wolfson oversaw the development of IU South Bend from a two year college into a university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Notable contributions included the construction of the Schurz Library, as well as expansions of the theater and music departments.
Prior to Wolfson's service as Chancellor at IU South Bend, he was Associate Professor of English at Indiana University Gary (now IU Northwest) until 1964, when he was selected as Director and Assistant Dean of IU South Bend. In 1969, he was named Chancellor and retired in 1987 after over 20 years of service.
Wolfson was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Michigan. His teaching experience prior to IU South Bend included Wayne State University, University of Houston, University of California Santa Barbara, and Indiana University Gary.
He received an honorary degree in Humane Letters from Indiana University in 1988. The degree was presented to him by IU President Thomas Ehrlich at commencement ceremonies in South Bend.