Horace Webster

Member of the faculty, Geneva College
1825-1848

October 6, 1990

Horace Webster was born in Hartford, Vermont, in 1794.  He graduated at the head of his class at West Point in 1818, and after teaching mathematics there for several years, went in 1825 to Hobart (then Geneva College), where he taught mathematics and natural philosophy for 23 years.  During that time he also served as acting president twice (1828-30 and again 1835-36) and as treasurer (1844-48).

He was revered as both teacher and administrator for the College during its difficult years and was one of only two faculty members retained during a particularly dire period.  He was a popular professor who was affectionately known among the students as “old Fess.”  Webster was considered “the giant” of the College during his years here, and it was a near disaster for Hobart when he left in 1849 to become the first president of the Free College of New York (later City College of New York).

Professor Webster received an A.M. degree from Princeton in 1822, LL.D. degrees from Kenyon in 1846 and Columbia in 1849, and an M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1850.  He wrote one book of note, The History of Scandinavia (1858) and in addition to serving as president of CCNY and professor of moral, intellectual, and political philosophy there for 20 years, he served as a director (1851-70) and a vice-president (1859-67) of Norwich University.

He retired in 1869 to his old home in Geneva, where he was emeritus professor until his death in 1871.  A local obituary spoke of his “shrewdness and remarkable organizing power” and said that, “amidst the high county tone of a West Point professor, there was also the simplicity and gentleness of a child.”  He was a remarkable man, who left his mark on the students he taught and the institutions he served.


DFA RECIPIENTS

2018

Elena Ciletti

Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D.'12

2017

Jim Crenner

Benjamin Daise

Maureen Flynn P'09, P'12, P'16*

2016

Roger Farrand '49, P'78

Lois F. Nellis '46*

Ann B. Oaks '74, P'84, P'85, P'89

2014

Claudette Kemper Columbus

2013

Nicholas V. D'Angelo P'98

2012

Peter R. Beckman

Leonard Lawson L.H.D. '68*

Tom Millington

John George Van Deusen P'43

2011

Mary Gerhart

Joel Kerlan, P'89

Deborah Tall*

2010

Joseph N. Abraham, L.H.D. '81*

Donald L. Woodrow P'83, GP'15

2008

Valerie C. Saiving

William G. Hosking '47, P'74*

2007

Walter A. Ralls

2006

Valerie Kish

Frank O’Laughlin*

2004

John Loftus P'75, P'76, P'91*

Toni Flores P'94*

2003

Richard Heaton P'86*

Marvin Bram P'91, L.H.D. ’99

2002

Joseph DiGangi

Eugene F. Murphy P'74, L.H.D. '90*

2001

Ralph Bullard*

Kenneth Carle P'82, P'84, P'90

2000

Benjamin P. Atkinson, L.H.D. '86*

Otto Eugene Schoen-René*

John Lydenberg*

Lindsay A. J. Lafford P'65, P'71, L.H.D. '87*

1999

Robert A. Huff*

1998

Theodore Tellefsen Odell '20, Sc. D.'67*

Irving O. Bentsen '54

1997

Charles Delamater Vail '59, L.H.D.'04*

John Archer Silver*

Charles John Rose '76*

Francis Phillip Nash*

Joseph H. McDaniels, LL.D. '11*

1996

Abigail Mosey*

Brooks Otis, L.H.D. '77*

1995

John Muirheid*

Maynard O. Smith P'76

1993

Richard A. Ryan

William Pitt Durfee, LL.D. '22*

Walter Hetherington Durfee '08, Sc.D. '59*

1992

Elon Howard Eaton*

Edward E. Griffith, L.H.D. '88*

1991

Milton Haight Turk, LL.D. '38*

Kathryn Dapp Cook, L.H.D. '84*

1990

Horace Webster*

John Towler*

Hamilton Lanphere Smith, D.Sc. 1900*


* deceased

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.