Laurens Perseus Hickok

The 5th president of Union College

Laurens Perseus Hickok

Laurens Perseus Hickok (1798–1888)
(Union College Permanent Collection)

Term: 1866-1868
Academic credentials: B.A., Union College (1820)

Union College approached Hickok in 1851 as a possible successor of Nott. Hickok accepted the position of Professor of Moral Philosophy and Vice President in 1852, with the understanding that he would become president upon Nott's death. In July 1861, recognizing that Nott was increasingly unable to carry out his duties, the board authorized Vice President Hickock to "act as president."

The Reverend Laurens Hickock officially became president of Union College in 1866 upon Nott's passing. He was 67 years old.

At the 1866 Commencement board meeting a few months after his election, Hickock reported on the "present condition and future prospects of the College," referring especially to the erection of Graduates Hall (the future Nott Memorial), the increase of the library, and the appointment of a vice-president and professor of rhetoric and political economy. His suggestions were referred to committee.

A year later, at the July 1867 meeting, the board approved some of his requests, including a major calendar change that Eliphalet Nott had long resisted. Hickok also gained approval for the appointment of Ransom Welch as Professor of Logic, Rhetoric and English literature, but no vice-president was appointed.

These were small victories; the major projects languished in committee. Moreover, Hickok was losing some of his strongest supporters on the board and this may have contributed to his decision to retire in 1868.

From the "Encyclopedia of Union College History"

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