Benjamin Rush Rhees

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Benjamin Rush Rhees
3rd President of the University of Rochester
In office
Preceded byDavid Jayne Hill
Succeeded byAlan C. Valentine
Personal details
Born(1860-02-08)February 8, 1860
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJanuary 4, 1939(1939-01-04) (aged 78)
Rochester, New York
Resting placeMount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York
Spouse(s)Harriet Chapin Seelye Rhees
ChildrenMorgan John Rhees
Henrietta Seelye Rhees Stewart
Rush Rhees, Jr
ParentsJohn E. Rhees
Annie H. McCutchen
Alma materAmherst College, Hartford Theological Seminary

Rev. Benjamin Rush Rhees (1860–1939) was the third president of the University of Rochester, serving from 1900 to 1935.


Rhees, great-grandson of radical Baptist minister Morgan John Rhys,[1] earned his undergraduate degrees from Amherst College where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi.[2] He graduated from the Hartford Theological Seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister.

President of the University of Rochester[edit]

He served in the position from 1900 to 1935. When he arrived at the University, it had been without a president for four years.

Under his tenure, George Eastman became a donor to the University, contributing in the largest capacity the University had seen. The Eastman School of Music was begun during Rhees' tenure, as was the University's medical center and the College for Women (1902). Also during his tenure the Institute of Optics, the first such entity in the New World, was founded in 1929. Additionally, Rhees' administration was responsible for moving the campus from Prince Street to its current home on the River Campus (formerly Oak Hill golf course), with a groundbreaking in 1927.[3]

Rush Rhees Library

Rush Rhees Library, the main academic library of the University of Rochester, established in 1930 was named after him, as during his tenure, the school went from a small college to a research university.[4]


Rhees and his wife Harriet Chapin Seelye (daughter of L. Clark Seelye) were the parents of Rush Rhees, a Wittgenstein scholar and one of the philosopher's literary executors.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b Phillips, D. Z. (2006), "Rhees, Rush", The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy, Continuum, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199754694.001.0001/acref-9780199754694-e-1772, retrieved 2019-05-22
  2. ^ Past Presidents Alpha Delta Phi fraternity
  3. ^ "University of Rochester: Office of the President". Archived from the original on 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
  4. ^ "Rush Rhees Library: History". River Campus Libraries. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  5. ^ "Rhees, Rush (1905–1989), philosopher | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-65652. Retrieved 2019-05-22.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David Jayne Hill
President of the University of Rochester
1900 – 1935
Succeeded by
Alan Valentine