Undergraduate Commencement Speakers in the 1880s


Rev. L. T. (Leander Trowbridge) Chamberlain

Chamberlain was pastor of the Broadway Congregational Church in Norwich, Conn. from 1876 to 1883. The ceremony closed the first year of the new agricultural school, and as none of the students had completed the requirements, no diplomas were awarded. After the ceremony, students conducted laboratory practice demonstrations.


J. M. Hubbard

Hubbard, of Middletown, was a trustee of the school/college from 1881 to 1896. This ceremony was held in the Storrs Congregational Church. As noted on the Undergraduate Ceremony Speakers main page, six students received their two-year certificates in this, the first graduating class.


Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Gov. Thomas M. Waller

This ceremony was held in an oak grove in an area behind what is now Holcomb Hall. Waller (1840 - 1924), was governor from 1883 to 1885. Beecher, (1813 - 1887), brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a clergyman and abolitionist and one of the most popular preachers of his day. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, he became the pastor of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn, New York, in 1847. He was a close friend of the Storrs brothers.


Gov. Henry B. Harrison, William E. Simonds

Harrison (1821 - 1901), a Republican from New Haven, was governor from 1885 - 1887. Simonds was a trustee from Canton who served from 1886 to 1903. He also headed a state commission that reported favorably on the school in 1885.


Gen. Stewart L. Woodward, John E. Russell

Woodward was later U.S. Minister to Spain during the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898. No information is available about John E. Russell.


E.H. Hyde, William E. Simonds

Ephraim H. Hyde, of Stafford, was a trustee from 1881-1899, and served many years in the state General Assembly and was lieutenant governor of Connecticut from 1867-68. Simonds was a trustee from Canton, who also spoke at two commencement ceremonies in the 1890s.


Gov. Phineas C. Lounsbury, Wilbur O. Atwater

Lounsbury, a Republican from Ridgefield, served one term as governor, from 1887-1889. Atwater was director of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station.


J. M. Hubbard, Henry C. Miles, Theodore S. Gold, J. H. Hale

The program for 1889 lists all four men, all trustees of the school, as giving addresses. Gold was instrumental in the creation of Storrs Agricultural School.


Information on the History of Commencement pages was researched and compiled by Mark J. Roy