Henry Smith Pritchett
|Henry Smith Pritchett|
Pritchett circa 1915
|President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Term||1900 – 1907|
|Successor||Arthur Amos Noyes|
April 16, 1857|
|Died||August 28, 1939
Santa Barbara, California
Henry Smith Pritchett (April 16, 1857 – August 28, 1939) was an American astronomer and educator.
Pritchett was born on April 16, 1857 in Fayette, Missouri, the son of Carr Waller Pritchett, Sr., and attended Pritchett College in Glasgow, Missouri, receiving an A.B. in 1875. He then took instruction from Asaph Hall for two years at the US Naval Observatory after which he was made an assistant astronomer. In 1880, he returned to Glasgow to take a position at the Morrison Observatory, where his father Carr Waller Pritchett, Sr. was director. He served as an astronomer on the Transit of Venus Expedition to New Zealand in 1882. When he returned in 1883, he took an appointment as professor of mathematics and astronomy and director of the observatory at Washington University in St. Louis. In the early 1890s he studied in Germany, where he earned the Ph.D. from the University of Munich in 1894.
He was Superintendent of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1897 to 1900. He served as the president of MIT from 1900 to 1906. He was president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching from 1906 until he retired in 1930. His principal contribution while with the CFAT was the institution of a fully funded pension program (the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, TIAA) in 1918.
He also served as the first president of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education (1907). He had a long involvement with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and served as a trustee for Carnegie Institute of Washington.
He died on August 28, 1939 in Santa Barbara, California.
Pritchett Lounge, on the second floor of Walker Memorial at MIT is named in his honor.
Lagemann, Ellen Condliffe. Private Power for the Public Good: A History of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1983.
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