John Wheelock assumed the presidency of Dartmouth upon his father's death in 1779. Neither a cleric nor an academic, Dartmouth's second and youngest president was confronted with the task of building up Dartmouth's finances and physical resources after the ravages of the Revolutionary War. While his relationship with the state legislature led to a legal crisis for the College and the controversy surrounding his latter years in office cast a shadow over his administration, Dartmouth made tremendous progress under his leadership. Two of the College's most renowned alumni, Daniel Webster (1801) and Sylvanus Thayer (1807) graduated during his tenure, and he was instrumental in founding the fourth medical school in the nation in 1797 under Dr. Nathan Smith. John Wheelock also began building the historic Dartmouth Hall, which has become one of the country's best-known collegiate buildings.
Last Updated: 6/25/09