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The Wheelock Succession of Dartmouth Presidents

NATHAN LORD, 1828-1863

Nathan Lord

The relative brevity of the Dana and Tyler administrations was more than offset by the long tenure of President Nathan Lord. A graduate of Bowdoin College and a Congregational minister, Lord remained at the helm of Dartmouth College for 35 years, longer than any president except John Wheelock. Lord was an independent thinker, an athlete and a strict disciplinarian. He is said to have preached scripture from memory, unbeknownst to his audience to whom his eyes were always camouflaged by dark glasses. Lord was also a prodigious fund raiser, establishing the College's first alumni association and securing $50,000 in a general solicitation that enabled Dartmouth to build Thornton and Wentworth Halls, the two Greek Revival buildings flanking Dartmouth Hall.

Under the leadership of Nathan Lord Dartmouth enjoyed considerable growth, both in student enrollments and in the physical campus. But many of Lord's strongly held views brought him into conflict with the campus and the external world. He looked on academic awards and other symbols of student achievement as subversive forces in what he considered to be the higher pursuits of virtue and wisdom, and held strong pro-slavery views. As the nation entered into Civil War, those views became more and more repugnant to Dartmouth's constituencies, including several prominent alumni, among them Amos Tuck (1835) and Gilman Marston (1837), a general in the Union Army. Finally, in 1863, the Dartmouth Trustees were asked to remove Dr. Lord from office. Instead, he tendered his resignation.

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Last Updated: 6/25/09