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Portrait of Lotus Coffman
January 7, 1875|
|Died||September 23, 1938
|Spouse||Mary Emma Farrell|
Lotus Delta Coffman was the fifth president of the University of Minnesota, serving from 1920 until his death in office on September 22, 1938. Coffman Memorial Union, the main student center, is named in his memory.
Lotus Delta Coffman, son of Mansford Coffman and Laura Davis, was born 7 January 1875 in Salem, Indiana. He married in Salem on 28 December 1899 to Mary Emma Farrell born 12 September 1877 Paoli, Indiana, daughter of William H.H.P. Farrell & his first wife Mary A. Wible. Coffman was a graduate of Salem High School in 1892 and a graduate of Indiana Normal School at Terre Haute, in 1896, where he played quarterback on the football team. He earned an AB degree from Indiana University, 1906; an AM degree there, 1910; a Ph.D. at Columbia, NY, 1911. He later received a LLD from Indiana University and from Carleton College in 1922; a LLD from Columbia University, 1929 & a LLD from the University of Michigan, 1931; a LHD from University of Denver, 1930 and a DS degree in education from George Washington University, 1930.
Coffman was principal of Salem, Indiana schools from 1900-1903; Superintendent of Salem schools 1903-1906; superintendent of Connersville School 1906-1908; director of training at Charleston, Illinois Normal School 1908-1912; dean of education at the University of Illinois 1912-1915; Dean of the College of Education at the University of Minnesota 1915-1920; and President of the University of Minnesota 1920-1938. As a youth he wanted to be a bareback rider in a circus, wearing bright red and riding a white horse.
He was a visiting professor for the Carnegie Endowment for National Peace to New Zealand and Australia 1931; visiting lecturer at the University of the Philippines 1932; member of the National Board of Education to do research in Russia and visit Poland & Germany; was a consultant to the US Department of Interior on a Land Grant College Survey 1928-1930; and advisor to the Surgeon General on education of disabled soldiers during WWI.
He started at the University of Minnesota with a $12,000 annual salary. The University then had 8,200 students on campus. There was $6.5 million spent on maintenance of the campus annually. The School of Education enrolled 600 and had 50 faculty members. The Music School building was under construction in 1920. After 10 years as president, the University's property values had increased more than 100%; the budget increased 68%; enrollment increased 60% in undergraduate classes and over 100% in graduate studies; staff increased from 479 to 825 with 25% having the rank of professor—becoming the third largest university in the US. During Coffman's time the Memorial Stadium was built, Northrop Auditorium & the Library were added; and the Mayo brothers (Wm J. & Charles H.) gave the University $2 million for endowment of the Mayo Foundation for Graduate Medical Study and Research.
- American Council on Education 1939
- "Lotus D. Coffman died Thursday, Sept. 23, 1938, age 63". Minneapolis Morning Tribune. p. 1.
- American Council on Education (1939). The Educational Record. American Council on Education.
- "Lotus Coffman". University of Minnesota Office of the President.
- Works by Lotus Coffman, at Internet Archive
Marion LeRoy Burton
|President of the University of Minnesota
1920 — 1938
Guy Stanton Ford