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Nicholas MiraculousThe Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler$
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Michael Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174213

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174213.001.0001

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The Twelfth President

The Twelfth President

(p.117) Chapter Five The Twelfth President
Nicholas Miraculous

Michael Rosenthal

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on Nicholas Murray Butler's selection as the twelfth president of Columbia University. In 1889, as the youngest dean of the newest faculty in an institution transforming itself from an old-fashioned college into a modern university, Butler must have seen in Columbia's pinched, inadequate Forty-ninth Street campus a vast continent of personal and professional opportunity. The problem was that Seth Low, not Butler, ruled over its small campus and large future. As long as Low remained at Columbia, he would necessarily frustrate Butler's ambition to be its president. In 1901, Low resigned. Butler was chosen as acting president but shed his “acting” title to become the twelfth president of Columbia on January 6, 1902. His inauguration was described by the School Journal as a demonstration of how “our great universities are established and believed in as essential institutions in our national life…The procession bore eloquent testimony to the high honor in which the worthy institutions for higher education are held in this country”.

Keywords:   Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia University president, Seth Low, universities, higher education

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