This article is the first of a multipart series on William Jewell College’s presidents- past, present and future.
In its 166 years, William Jewell College has been led by 19 men, making Dr. Walls the first woman president of the College. Given their varying statuses—14 were inaugurated presidents, with the remaining five consisting of two faculty chairmen and three interim presidents—there is some disagreement about the order of ascension. The following list, which provides a brief profile of each of the 13 presidents preceding Dr. David Sallee, is the order recognized by the College’s administration. All information was complied from the Curry Library Archives.
Rev. E.S. Dulin (1850-52)
Hometown: Fairfax, Va.
Education: Richmond College, University of Virginia
Previous Occupation(s): professor of ancient languages, Hollins Institute, ordained minister, pastor of Baptist Church in Lexington, Mo.
Dulin, at only 29 years old, is the youngest president. He taught intellectual philosophy and English literature for the College while simultaneously presiding over it. He is also responsible for organizing the College’s Ministerial Education Society.
Dr. Robert S. Thomas (1853-55)
Hometown: Scott County, Ky.
Education: Transylvania University, Yale University
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in Boone and Callaway counties; clerk, Missouri Baptist Association; principal, Bonne Femme Academy in Boonetown; professor of English literature, University of Missouri.
Thomas, like Dulin, was a professor during his presidency. He taught moral philosophy at the College. He also served as a Charter Member of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. William Thompson (1857-61)
Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland
Education: University of Edinburgh
Previous Occupation(s): lawyer; ordained minister, pastor in Illinois, Fayette and Boone County, Mo.; president, Mount Pleasant College
Thompson is the first of the College’s three foreign-born presidents. Although his administration closed the College due to the Civil War, with Jewell Hall transformed into a hospital for Union soldiers, he and the faculty continued hosting a few classes until 1863.
Dr. Thomas Rambaut (1868-73)
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Education: French Huguenot School in Ireland, Trinity College in Dublin
Previous Occupation(s): tutor; ordained minister, pastor in Georgia and South Carolina; president, Cherokee Baptist College; professor, Georgia Military Institute
Rambaut is the second foreign-born president. He was renowned for his French Huguenot ancestry and his relation to Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine. He transitioned the College’s reopening after the Civil War.
Dr. John Priest Greene (1892-1920; 1921-23)
Hometown: Scotland County, Mo.
Education: B.A. LaGrange College; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in Louisville, Ky. and St. Louis, Mo.; president, American Baptist Education Society; founder, Missouri College Union in Sedalia.
Greene, who led the College for 30 years, has the longest term of any president and is the only one to serve two separate terms. Concurrently, he was a professor of ethics and theology. His administration was the first to admit women to the College, beginning in 1917-18. The former Greene Hall as well as the Greene Athletic Stadium were named in his honor.
Dr. David Jones Evans (1920-21)
Hometown: Carmarthen Shire, South Wales
Education: William Jewell College, Southern Baptist Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in St. Louis, Kentucky and Kansas City.
Evans is the first of three alumni and third foreigner to be president. He has the shortest term of the presidents, only serving for one year, given his preference for ministry. He both succeeded and preceded Greene.
Dr. Harry Clifford Wayman (1923-28)
Hometown: Kenton County, Ky.
Education: Georgetown College in Kentucky, Southern Baptist Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): principal, Covington High School; ordained minister, pastor in Kentucky; professor, Southern Baptist Seminary.
Wayman, although receiving Greene’s approval for leadership, has a presidency overshadowed by two major controversies. He was not only accused of falsifying his educational credentials but also his decision with the Board of Trustees not to renew the contracts of three of the College’s tenured professors was widely unpopular among the student body. In response, the senior class of that year boycotted baccalaureate and requested that their diplomas be distributed by one of the dismissed faculty instead of Wayman.
Dr. John Francis Herget (1928-42)
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Education: William Jewell College; Rochester Theological Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in St. Louis, Ohio and New York; superintendent of Missions, St. Louis Baptist Association; chaplain, World War I.
Herget is the second alumnus to be president. He transitioned the College through the financial depression of the 1930s. Along with building Brown Hall, formerly a gymnasium, he created a separate physical education program for female students and hired the first dean of women. He donated his personal library collection to the College, which is still open for public viewing in the archives.
Dr. Walter Pope Binns (1943-62)
Hometown: Washington, Ga.
Education: Mercer University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Occidental College in Los Angeles
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in Georgia, Kentucky and Virginia; U.S. Army chaplain, World War I; president, Georgia Baptist Young People’s Union; trustee, Mercer University; president, Virginia Baptist Association
Binns led the College during the majority of World War II. He oversaw the construction of Semple Hall, Jones Hall, the Yates-Gill Student Union and the Greene Athletic Stadium. The Binns Lectures on religion and culture are named in his honor.
Dr. H. Guy Moore (1962-68)
Hometown: DuQuoin, Il.
Education: William Jewell College, Southern Baptist Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor at Fort Worth, Tex., St. Louis and Kansas City
Moore is the third alumnus to serve as president. During his tenure the Charles F. Curry Library, along with Browning Hall, were built.
Dr. Thomas S. Field (1970-80)
Hometown: Chicago, Il.
Education: Wheaton College; Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): ordained minister, pastor in New York, Louisiana, Georgia, New Jersey and Missouri.
Field was responsible for the construction and dedication of the Pillsbury Music Center and the Mabee Center as well as the enhancement and naming of the College’s former radio station, KWPB.
Dr. James Gordon Kingsley (1980-94)
Hometown: Houston, Tx.
Education: Mississippi College; University of Missouri; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Previous Occupation(s): assistant professor of English, Mississippi College; instructor in English, Tulane University; assistant professor of English, William Jewell College; assistant to the president, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; professor of Literature and Religion and coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies, Kentucky Southern College.
Kingsley, a few years prior to his presidency, served as the Associate Dean and as the Dean of the College. He introduced the Oxbridge Honors Program and oversaw the construction of White Science Center. The College was listed as one of the U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” for 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989.
Dr. W. Christian Sizemore (1994-2000)
Hometown: South Boston, Va.
Education: University of Richmond; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; University of North Carolina; Florida State University
Previous Occupation(s): librarian and associate professor, South Georgia College; teaching assistant, Florida State University School of Library and Information Science; academic dean, Dean of the College, professor, and acting president for South Georgia College; president, Alderson-Broaddus College.
Sizemore, at 56, is the oldest president and the first to be elected to the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. During his tenure, he was particularly committed to the enhancement of information-sharing technologies and Internet accessibility and was responsible for installing a $2.5 million campus-wide computer network.
Feature photo by Kyle Rivas.