William O. Hotchkiss

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William Otis Hotchkiss (September 17, 1878 – June 20, 1954) was the third president of Michigan Technological University and the tenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.[1]


He was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin[2] on September 17, 1878. He earned a geology degree in 1903, a civil engineering degree in 1908 and a Ph.D. in 1916, all from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[3]

He served as state geologist in Wisconsin from 1909 to 1925. He wrote publications including Rural Highways of Wisconsin, Limestone Road Materials of Wisconsin, and Geological and Road Map of Wisconsin and served on several state and federal geology committees, as well as president of the Association of American State Geologists.[4] The Wisconsin state highway commission was created during his tenure and he served on it between 1911-1925.[5] In 1925, he was appointed president of the Michigan Mining School. During his tenure, the school added programs in chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering and a program in forestry.[6] In 1927, the school changed its name to the Michigan College of Mining and Technology and is now known as Michigan Technological University.[7]

In 1935, he was appointed president of Rensselaer. In 1943, he retired at the age of 65 but remained president emeritus.[2] He died on June 20, 1954.[2]


  1. ^ "Dr. Hotchkiss Named President of R.P.I.; Head of College in Michigan to Succeed Dr. Ricketts, Who Died in December." Associated Press in the New York Times. June 17, 1935. Retrieved 2011-03-19. Dr. William Otis Hotchkiss, president of Michigan College of Mining and Technology at Houghton, Mich., has been elected president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the board of trustees announced tonight. He will take up his duties in September. 
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. William Hotchkiss". Janesville Daily Gazette. June 22, 1954. p. 13. Retrieved May 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ William O. Hotchkiss
  4. ^ History of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey: Part 2
  5. ^ "Takes R.P.I. Post Tuesday", New York Times, September 1, 1935
  6. ^ MichiganTech History
  7. ^ Michigan Tech Magazine, December 2005

Academic offices
Preceded by
Fred W. McNair
President of Michigan Technological University
1925 – 1935
Succeeded by
Grover C. Dillman
Preceded by
Palmer C. Ricketts
President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1935 – 1943
Succeeded by
Livingston W. Houston