(1881-1901) Carter, Franklin

Williams College President 1881-1901

Graduate of Williams in the Class of 1862, which he entered as a junior from Yale in 1860, having been the valedictorian of his class at Phillips Academy, Andover. He became the first scholar-president of Williams in 1881, a position that he filled with imagination and skill for twenty years. Before coming to the presidency he had served Williams as a professor of Latin and French, and Yale as a professor of German; his first five years as president of the College, he was also president of the Modern Languages Association, the new and significant organization of language scholars. During his presidency he raised over a million dollars, directed a building program that added eight new buildings to the College plant, doubled the size of the faculty, dropped Greek as an admission requirement, increased electives in the curriculum and welcomed the introduction of the honor system. By temperament an aristocrat, he insisted that the College not be a “refuge for rich men’s sons:” much of the curricular innovation that he encouraged was designed to open the doors of the College to a larger clientele. Franklin Carter House, named in his honor, is one of four houses that comprise the Greylock Quadrangle.


By Prof. Fred Rudolph (Williams class of 1942)


Williams College Alumni Review (May 1965).