William Oxley Thompson


William Oxley Thompson





Biographical Sketch

William Oxley Thompson, D.D. (November 5, 1855 – December 9, 1933), born in Cambridge, Ohio, was the fifth President of The Ohio State University. Thompson was educated at Muskingum College and Western Theological Seminary. An ordained minister, Thompson spent the first half of his career in Presbyterian ministry. Upon his first wife's death in 1886 he turned to higher education and became the first president of the Longmont Presbyterian College founded by the Presbyterian Synod of Colorado. He was appointed president of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1891 and served until 1899 when he resigned to become president of Ohio State.

His extensive service at Ohio State University (26 years) is honored with a larger-than-life bronze statue of President Thompson in academic dress, positioned in front of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library on "The Oval" (the central green space on the Ohio State University campus). He is known for being involved in students' education and social lives. Thompson's tenure at Ohio State was marked by two seminal events. The first occurred in 1906 with the passage by the Ohio Legislature of the Eagleson Bill, which formalized Ohio State's flagship role in the state's public system of higher education. The Eagleson law mandated that only Ohio State, among Ohio's public universities, would be allowed to offer doctoral education or conduct basic research. The second event, and the culmination of both the raison d'être for Ohio State's founding in 1870 and the aim of the Eagleson Bill in 1906, occurred in 1916 with Ohio State's election into the Association of American Universities. In 1926, Thompson was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.


Cedarville, commencement, William Oxley Thompson

William Oxley Thompson