Francis John McConnell Named DePauw's Ninth President
October 30, 1908
October 30, 1908, Greencastle, Ind. - On this date, the Board of Trustees and Visitors met to confirm the selection of Dr. Francis John McConnell, pastor of the New York Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, New York, as the ninth president of DePauw University. McConnell would succeed Edwin Holt Hughes, who served as president of DePauw from 1903 to 1909, and had to leave DePauw after being chosen a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
""It was understood," William Warren Sweet writes in his history of DePauw, "that the new president was not to assume his duties on the campus until the following spring... The McConnell family took up its residence at 'The Towers,' the president's home on East Seminary Street -- which had been purchased during the previous administration -- in March 1909. The formal inauguration took place on March 10, as the culmination of a four-day educational conference... President McConnell was given a hearty ovation when he arose to deliver his inaugural address, which was devoted to the development of the theme, 'The Christian Ideal and the Pursuit of Knowledge.'"
Dr. McConnell led the University's first major fund drive. The campaign for the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Fund produced a total subscription of $550,546. DePauw: A Pictorial History notes, "In his later career as a leading Methodist bishop, McConnell was able to exert a wider influence and achieve a national reputation as a religious thinker and social reformer. He was the author of numerous books, including biographies of his personal mentor Borden Parke Bowne and Methodist founder John Wesley. As did his predecessor Hughes, McConnell published an autobiography which devoted an appreciative chapter to his DePauw years." Dr. McConnell died in 1952.
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