Undergraduate Commencement Speakers in the 1890s


George A. Bowen, Wilbur O. Atwater, J. H. Hale

Bowen, of Eastford, Conn., was master of the Connecticut Grange. Atwater was director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and later both the CAES and the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station. John Howard "J.H." Hale was a peach farmer from Glastonbury (known as the Peach King) and a trustee of the school.


Mortimer Whitehead

Whitehead, a farmer, introduced the subject of Rural Free Delivery to the National Grange in 1891.


William E. Simonds

Simonds, a Connecticut veteran of the Civil War, was a state representative, serving as Speaker of the House in 1885. A Canton, Conn. native, he was largely responsible for saving the Storrs Agricultural School from being dismantled during a state review in the mid-1880s, and served on the Board of Trustees during the 1890s.


Wilbur O. Atwater

Atwater was director of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (where he maintained his office on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.). He was best known for his studies of human nutrition and he invented and used the respiration calorimeter with which he measured the energy provided by food and calling the measure food calories.


H. W. Collingwood

Herbert Winslow Collingwood was an editor of The Rural New Yorker, and was a farmer in New Jersey. This was the first graduating class to include women, who officially began taking classes in 1893. Nelly Wilson began taking classes in the fall of 1890, and she was joined in 1891 by Louise Rosebrooks and Anna Snow. All were in the graduating Class of 1894.

1895 - June 14

Nahum J. Bachelder

Bachelder was Secretary of the New Hampshire Board of Agriculture, and he was on the board from 1887 to 1913, including during his two years as New Hampshire's governor. He was Master of the state Grange from 1891 until he became governor in 1903.


William E. Simonds

Simonds was a trustee from Canton. He also spoke at the 1892 commencement and two ceremonies in the 1880s.


Col. Joseph H. Brigham

Brigham was assistant secretary of agriculture, Washington, D.C. A veteran of an Ohio regiment during the Civil War, he was National Master of the Grange from 1888 until his appointment by President William McKinley in 1897.

1898 - June 15

Rev. J. L. Pitner

Pitner was a clergyman from Norwich, Conn. One of the student speakers at the 1898 commencement was Nicholas W. Hawley, for whom Hawley Armory was named in 1915. Hawley was one of five graduates who entered the service during the Spanish-American War that year. He died of typhoid fever on November 19, 1989 at the Red Cross Hospital in Philadelphia.


Rev. Charles M. Lamson

Lamson was pastor of the First Church of Christ in Hartford, Conn. He was also president of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.


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