Benjamin Rush Rhees

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Benjamin Rush Rhees
3rd President of the University of Rochester
In office
Preceded by David Jayne Hill
Succeeded by Alan C. Valentine
Personal details
Born (1860-02-08)February 8, 1860
Chicago, Illinois
Died January 4, 1939(1939-01-04) (aged 78)
Rochester, New York
Resting place Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Harriet Chapin Seelye Rhees
Children Morgan John Rhees
Henrietta Seelye Rhees Stewart
Rush Rhees, Jr
Parents John E. Rhees
Annie H. McCutchen
Alma mater Amherst College, Hartford Theological Seminary
Profession Administrator

Rev. Benjamin Rush Rhees (1860–1939) was the third president of the University of Rochester, serving from 1900-1935.


Rhees earned his undergraduate degrees from Amherst College where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi.[1] He graduated from the Hartford Theological Seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister.

President of the University of Rochester[edit]

He served in the position from 1900 to 1935. When he arrived at the University, it had been without a president for four years.

Under his tenure, George Eastman became a donor to the University, contributing in the largest capacity the University had seen. The Eastman School of Music was begun during Rhees' tenure, as was the University's medical center and the College for Women (1902). Also during his tenure the Institute of Optics, the first such entity in the New World, was founded in 1929. Additionally, Rhees' administration was responsible for moving the campus from Prince Street to its current home on the River Campus (formerly Oak Hill golf course), with a groundbreaking in 1927.[2]

Rush Rhees Library

Rush Rhees Library, the main academic library of the University of Rochester, established in 1930 was named after him, as during his tenure, the school went from a small college to a research university.[3]


His son Rush Rhees was a Wittgenstein scholar and one of the philosopher's literary executors.


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David Jayne Hill
President of the University of Rochester
1900 – 1935
Succeeded by
Alan Valentine