Praise for an Unsung President

President Stimson, Connecticut Agricultural College
President Stimson, Connecticut Agricultural College. (UConn Photo)

Serving as president of the institution that would become UConn from 1901 to 1908, Rufus Stimson played a crucial role in securing the college’s future after a period of turmoil that followed the departure of President Benjamin Koons.

Stimson was a professor of English at Connecticut Agricultural College when he was named president, and quickly made major changes in the institution, including the beginning of summer classes, bringing electricity to campus, promoting general education classes alongside agricultural learning, and nearly doubling the size of the college’s footprint by purchasing more than 100 acres of land in Storrs.

A gifted speaker, Stimson toured the state making speeches on the college’s behalf, and brought critical members of the General Assembly and newspaper editorial boards on tours of the campus. By the time he left for Smith College, enrollment had grown from 18 students to 125, and the college had its first modern residence hall, Storrs Hall, which today is the oldest brick building at the University.

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