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Robert G. Wilson, D.D., 1768-1851

Third President of Ohio University, 1824-1839

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Native of North Carolina and educated at Dickinson College, Dr. Wilson (who had been a trustee since 1809) came to the presidency at age 56 from the pastorate of the Chillicothe Presbyterian Church and teaching in the Chillicothe Academy. Progress during his term was considerable, with a department of English studies being added to the curriculum to provide teachers for the common schools and to qualify men for business careers. In 1825 the first masters degree was awarded Thomas Ewing, the University's first graduate. John Newton Templeton, was the first African-American graduated from the University in 1828, and the sixth in the nation. The University's first riot occurred in 1835 over a pledge requiring students to report disorderly compatriots. A summer session was offered in 1836 which included 33 college students. East Wing and West Wing (Wilson and McGuffey Halls) were completed in 1837 and 1839. In 1838 a fence was erected well up on the green near the college buildings to keep out wandering pigs. That same year saw the beginning of a program of free admittance of one indigent student from each Ohio county and the continuation of a concentration in teacher training for public schools. Revenue was enhanced through sales of lands in fee simple by authority of the state legislature.

Dr. Wilson continued in the ministry after retirement.

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