As principal of the Canberra University College, he was responsible for its transformation into an institution of higher education respected throughout the nation. His leadership facilitated the amalgamation of the CUC and the Australian National University in 1960. He was appointed principal of the School of General Studies, ANU. As well as creating national undergraduate scholarships to attract the nation’s top school leavers to ANU, he built residential accommodation for interstate students. Burton Hall ANU, a residential college, was named after him. As secretary of the Social Science Research Council of Australia, he guided its conversion into the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, of which he was executive director from 1971-73. He served as foundation president of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties from 1936-40. He was appointed CBE in 1962 and emeritus professor of ANU on retirement.