Office of the President (Willard Preston) Records
Scope and Content Note
A farewell sermon at St. Albans, VT, September 10, 1815; and acceptance letter, appointment as president, July 6, 1825. There is also an 1825 letter from future president Worthington Smith, declining the presidency at that time.
Collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist.
Born in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Willard Preston graduated with high honors from Brown University. After preaching in various churches in Rhode Island and Vermont, he became pastor of the First Congregational Church of Burlington in 1821 and president of the university in 1825. His short term saw the laying of the cornerstone of the South College—now the southern wing of the Old Mill—by the Marquis de Lafayette on June 29, 1825. Lafayette, an important figure in the American Revolution, was touring the country at the invitation of U.S. President James Monroe, in part to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the nation.
Preston resigned in 1826 due to differences with the corporation. He moved to Savanna, Georgia to become pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church. His resignation from the university led the way to a new era at UVM. The next president, James Marsh, would guide the university into the modern era, creating a new, more coherent curriculum with more emphasis on the sciences.
Sources consulted in the preparation of these notes include:
Daniels, Robert V. editor. The University of Vermont : The First Two Hundred Years Hanover, NH : University of Vermont : Distributed by University Press of New England, 1991.
Lindsay, Julian Ira. Tradition Looks Forward; the University of Vermont: a history, 1791-1904. Burlington [University of Vermont and State Agricultural College] 1954.
Marshall, Jeffrey. Universitas Viridis Montis, 1791-1991: An Exhibition of documents and artifacts telling the story of the University of Vermont. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1991.
Smallwood, Frank. The University of Vermont Presidents: Two Centuries of Leadership. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1997.
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Language of Materials
Preston served as president of the University of Vermont from 1825-1826. The collection includes a farewell sermon at St. Albans, VT, September 10, 1815; an acceptance letter, appointment as president, July 6, 1825; and an 1825 letter from future president Worthington Smith, declining the presidency at that time.
Library Research Annex
- Guide to the Office of the President (Willard Preston) Records
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Language of description note