Best received his bachelor’s degree from the International YMCA College (now Springfield College) in 1911, and then took on roles at both the West Side Branch YMCA in New York City and as a faculty member at Springfield College.
He served as a senior officer in the Canadian YMCA War Services in France during WWI. After the war, he returned to the West Side YMCA and enrolled in the doctoral program at New York University. He received an appointment to teach theology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and helped found the Sir George Williams University in Montreal in 1928. Best set up courses to train YMCA staff and served as the director for the Far East International Survey of YMCA and YWCAs.
Returning from overseas, he was appointed general secretary of the National Council of the YMCAs of Canada. In 1937, Best was inaugurated as the president of Springfield College. He emphasized the traditions of Springfield College including liberal interpretation of Christianity; the education of the whole person; a continued connection with the YMCA; professional training for youth services staff; international student exchange; racial and religious tolerance; and a continuing emphasis on health, physical education, and recreation.
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