Samuel Wait II 395
For a short period Owen was temporary president of the College.
The Trustees elected him to this position on October 18, 1852, when
President White was vacillating in the purpose to resign which he did
not consummate until a year later. By December 2, 1852, White had
decided to remain and was again elected president and continued in
that place until the close of the fall session of 1853-54. During the
spring session of that year Owen as Senior Professor was acting-
president. At the Commencement of 1853 Owen seems to have
graduated the class, and at any rate he handed the graduates their
diplomas, which was the occasion of the insult of which mention has
already been
At the Commencement of 1854, we have no
account of Owen's part, but we are told that "the class was graduated
by Dr. Wait," probably on request of Owen.21
The departure of Owen from the College came as a result of
dissatisfaction on the part of the Board of Trustees. The first word of
dissatisfaction is found in the Proceedings for June 10, 1855, which
records a strong resolution requesting Professor Owen to use his
influence to keep a brother from the dormitories. After another year
the Philomathesian Society was clamoring for representation on the
faculty and possibly this accentuated the already existing
dissatisfaction. At any rate as soon as the Board had met in the
Commencement meeting of 1856, a motion was presented asking for
Owen's resignation, but was laid on the table after it has been long
discussed with much iteration of the charges against
records of the Trustees disclose no other sign of displeasure with
Owen until the Commencement of 1858, when he was curtly asked to
hand in his resignation at that meeting. With this request he complied,
"On motion of J. J. James the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
"Whereas Professor W. H. Owen was publicly insulted by one of the graduating
class under circumstances calculated to mortify his feelings and reflect on the
"Therefore, Resolved, That the Board of Trustees express their undiminished
confidence in the integrity and fidelity of Professor Owen as an officer of this
21 Biblical Recorder, June 17, 1854.
Proceedings, June 11, 1856.
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