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Oilman, Daniel Coit

OILMAN, DANIEL COIT (1831-1908), American educationist, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on the 6th of July 1831. He graduated at Yale in 1852, studied in Berlin, was assistant librarian of Yale in 1856-1858 and librarian in 1858-1865, and was professor of physical and political geography in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University and a member of the Governing Board of this School in 1863-1872. From 1856 to 1860 he was a member of the school board of New Haven, and from August 1865 to January 1867 secretary of the Connecticut Board of Education. In 1872 he became president of the University of California at Berkeley. On the soth of December 1874 he was elected first president of Johns Hopkins University (q.v.) at Baltimore. He entered upon his duties on the 1st of May 1875, and was formally inaugurated on the 2 2nd of February 1876. This post he filled until 1901. From 1901 to 1904 he was the first president of the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D.C. He died at Norwich, Conn., on the 13th of October 1908. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Harvard, St John's, Columbia, Yale, North Carolina, Princeton, Toronto, Wisconsin and Clark Universities, and William and Mary College. His influence upon higher education in America was great, especially at Johns Hopkins, where many wise details of administration, the plan of bringing to the university as lecturers for a part of the year scholars from other colleges, the choice of a singularly brilliant and able faculty, and the marked willingness to recognize workers in new branches of science were all largely due to him. To the organization of the Johns Hopkins hospital, of which he was made director in 1889, he contributed greatly. He was a singularly good judge of men and an able administrator, and under him Johns Hopkins had an immense influence, especially in the promotion of original and productive research. He was always deeply interested in the researches of the professors at Johns Hopkins, and it has been said of him that his attention as president was turned inside and not outside the university. He was instrumental in determining the policy of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University while he was a member of its governing board; on the 28th of October 1897 he delivered at New Haven a semi-centennial discourse on the school, which appears in his University Problems. He was a prominent member of the American Archaeological Society and of the American Oriental Society; was one of the original trustees of the John F. Slater Fund (for a time he was secretary, and from 1893 until his death was president of the board); from 1891 until his death was a trustee of the Peabody Educational Fund (being the vice-president of the board); and was an original member of the General Education Board (1902) and a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation for Social Betterment (1907). In 1896-1897 he served on the Venezuela Boundary Commission appointed by President Cleveland. In 1901 he succeeded Carl Schurz as president of the National Civil Service Reform League and served until 1907. Some of his papers and addresses are collected in a volume entitled University Problems in the United States (1888). He wrote, besides, James Monroe (1883), in the American Statesmen Series; a Life of James D. Dana, the geologist (1899); Science and Letters at Yale (1901), and The Launching of a University (1906), an account of the early years of Johns Hopkins.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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