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Rev. George Junkin, D. D., LL. D. (November 1, 1790May 20, 1868) was an American educator and Presbyterian minister who served as the first president of Lafayette Collegemarker and later as president of Miami Universitymarker and Washington College (now Washington and Lee Universitymarker).


He was the son of Joseph Junkin, and the sixth of fourteen children born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvaniamarker. His early years were spent on his father's farm where he prepared for college. He graduated from Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson College in 1813. After studying theology privately, he entered the Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, in New York Citymarker and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Monongahela in 1816. He was soon called to the charge of the United Congregations of Milton, Pennsylvaniamarker and McEwensville, Pennsylvaniamarker, where he remained for about eleven years. In 1830 he became Principal of the Manual Labor Academy, at Germantown, Pennsylvania, one of the first institutions of the kind to go into operation in the United States. Two years later he became the first President of Lafayette Collegemarker. In 1841 he accepted the Presidency of Miami Universitymarker in Oxford, Ohiomarker remaining three years, when he again returned to Easton. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1844. In the fall of 1848 he became the President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee Universitymarker) in Virginia. Here he remained until May, 1861, when he resigned the presidency at the age of 71 and moved to Philadelphiamarker. He died in Philadelphia in 1868. His headstone incorrectly indicates that he was the founder of Miami University.

Tenure at Miami University

George Junkin succeeded Robert Hamilton Bishop as Miami University's second president, serving from 1841 to 1844. He quickly established his philosophy about college leadership, proclaiming that a monarchical system best suits a college administration, with the President serving as King. This was a difficult adjustment for students and faculty, who had been used to the more progressive Bishop administration.

The years of the Junkin administration began the "sullen years" of Miami, where there was a definite gloom amongst the students and faculty on campus. As a result of their dislike, he spent only three years before moving back to Lafayette. His tombstone inaccurately describes him as the founder of Miami University. The campus of Miami University has no building or location which bears his name, which argue that his three years at Miami were not enjoyable.


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