Francis J. McConnell


Francis J. McConnell

DePauw's Tenth President

To succeed him the trustees turned to another graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and the Boston University School of Theology, Francis J. McConnell, who was serving as pastor of a large Methodist church in Brooklyn, New York. Though he remained only three years in the DePauw presidency before following his predecessor into the Methodist espiscopacy, McConnell took a special interest in the university's financial condition and led the institution's first major fund drive.

Directed by financial secretary Salem Town and endowment secretary Cyrus U. Wade, the campaign for the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Fund, as it was called, was extraordinarily successful, producing a total subscription of $550,546 by mid-1912. This included $100,000 provided by the Rockefeller-funded General Education Board as well as substantial individual gifts from Washington C. DePauw's widow, Clement Studebaker, and Asbury alumnus Jay H. Neff and smaller sums donated by trustees, faculty, students, and Methodist clergy.

In his later career as a leading Methodist bishop, McConnell was able to exert a wider influence and achieve a national reputation as a religious thinker and social reformer. He was the author of numerous books, including biographies of his personal mentor Borden Parke Bowne and Methodist founder John Wesley. As did his predecessor Hughes, McConnell published an autobiography which devoted an appreciative chapter to his DePauw years.

The Hughes-McConnell era witnessed significant growth in the administrative organization of the university. One of President Hughes' first steps was to name Edwin Post, who had been professor of Latin language and literature since 1879 and vice president since 1896, to the office of dean of the College of Liberal Arts, an office he held until 1930.