Mark Hopkins (1802-1887)

Williams College President 1836-1872

Graduate of Williams in the Class of 1824, which he entered from secondary school as a junior in 1822. Professor of moral and intellectual philosophy from 1830 to 1887 and president of the College from 1836 to 1872, he symbolizes in the history of American education the era of small country colleges, where poor boys, simple surroundings, and dedicated teachers created an environment friendly to liberal learning. A skilled teacher in the Socratic tradition, he has been immortalized by the aphorism attributed to one of his former students, James A. Garfield: "The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other." A popular lecturer on moral and religious questions, for many years president of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions he earned the love and respect of generations of Williams men by his qualities as a teacher and friend. For over fifty years he helped to shape Williams men who knew how to respect their own minds and hearts and who knew the duty to listen to them.

By Prof. Fred Rudolph (WIlliams class of 1942)

Williams College Alumni Review . May 1965

View the guide to the Hopkins Family Papers.