Frederic Aldin Hall

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Frederic Aldin Hall (1854–1925) served as chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis from 1913 until 1923.

Life and career[edit]

Frederic Aldin Hall was born in Brunswick, Maine, in 1854, the son of a farmer. At the age of 17 he settled on a farm of his own in Illinois but quickly gave up farming to enter college. After a brief stint at the Academy of Olivet College in Michigan, he transferred to Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, where he developed a love for the classics and began a career that led him to become one of the nation's most distinguished scholars of Greek.

A gifted educator and noted orator, upon graduation from Drury he accepted the position of principal of Drury Academy, a position he held for 13 years. Following a year of study in Germany, he was elected Goodell Professor of Greek at Drury College and was named dean in 1898.

He joined Washington University in St. Louis in 1901 as Collins Professor of Greek. He helped shape the educational policies of the College and was instrumental in strengthening the Department of Greek. He was appointed dean of the College in 1913, a position he held for just one year before being appointed acting chancellor for Chancellor David Houston, who was on leave, serving as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He assumed the full chancellorship in 1917 and served until 1923, three years past the retirement age of 65. He died two years later.

He was by many accounts a fair and kind man, and during his time as chancellor he strengthened the graduate programs and established a business program. In 1922 he established a new School of Graduate Studies and in 1917 a School of Commerce and Finance. He guided the University through the years of World War I and the phenomenal growth that followed the war. Among his most important recruits was the 1920 hiring of Arthur Holly Compton, a promising young physics professor who would go on to win the Nobel prize and return years later as Washington University's ninth chancellor.

Later, Chancellor George Throop of Washington University wrote of Hall: "It is fortunate for the University that at the time of its greatest period of development it had at its head this kindly, level-headed gentleman, respected and loved both at Washington University and in the City, who guided all so sympathetically and so wisely."

A silver cup given to him from the faculty upon his retirement bears these words: "Beloved teacher, wise counselor, inspiring leader, firm friend during a period of service. Fortunate and fruitful for the University, one of those rare men with the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct and the hand to execute." of Commerce and Finance.

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