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Jonathan Maxcy (September 2, 1768June 4, 1820) was the second president of Brown Universitymarker (then known as the College of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations); the third president of Union Collegemarker; and the first president of the University of South Carolinamarker.

Born in Attleboromarker, Massachusettsmarker on September 2, 1768, Maxcy was educated at an academy in Wrenthammarker, Massachusettsmarker and then attended Brown, graduating in 1787. Shortly thereafter in 1789, Maxcy was baptized by James Manning, the first president of Brown.

In 1790, Maxcy was licensed to preach by the First Baptist Church in Americamarker and the next year, following Manning's death, he became pastor of First Baptist Church. Maxcy was also elected a trustee of Brown and was appointed professor of divinity.

Marriage and family

Maxcy was married to Susanna Hopkins, daughter of Commodore Esek Hopkins and niece of former Royal Governor of Rhode Island and first Brown University chancellor Stephen Hopkins of Providence. They had at least 3 daughters and 4 sons.

Brown University presidency

In 1792, at only 24 years of age, Maxcy was elected president pro tempore of the College of Rhode Island & Providence Plantationsmarker, and therefore resigned as pastor of First Baptist. He was formally elected president of the college in 1797 after which he served until 1802.

Professor Romeo Elton wrote of the Maxcy presidency at Brown:

“The University over which he presided with distinguished honor to himself and benefit to the public, flourished under his administration, and his fame was extended over every section of the Union. The splendor of his genius, and his brilliant talents as an orator and a divine, were seen and admired by all.... Under his administration the College acquired a reputation for belles-lettres and eloquence inferior to no seminary of learning in the United States. His pupils saw in him an admirable model for their imitation, and the influence of his pure and cultivated taste was seen in their literary performances. Though destitute of funds, and patronage from the legislature of the state, guided by his genius and wisdom, the College flourished and diffused its light over every part of the country.... Dr. Maxcy was one of the most learned men which our country has produced. Criticism, metaphysics, politics, morals, and theology all occupied his attention. His stores of knowledge were immense, and he had at all times the command over them.”[783392]

Union College presidency

In 1802, Jonathan Edwards, Jr., the second president of Union Collegemarker in Schenectadymarker, New Yorkmarker died and Union College invited Maxcy to become its third president. Maxcy accepted.

University of South Carolina presidency

Maxcy left Union College in 1804 to become president of the University of South Carolinamarker, where he remained until his death on June 4, 1820.

Honors and memorials

While president of Brown, Maxcy received the honorary degree of D.D. from Harvardmarker At Brown, Maxcy Hall built in 1895 and still in use was named for him. A building at Union College bore the name Maxcy House from 1971 until 1990 when its name was changed to Fero House. In 1827 the Maxcy Monument designed by noted architect Robert Mills was erected in the center of the Horseshoe, the main quadrangle of the University of South Carolina. In 1937 Maxcy College was built just north of the Horseshoe facing Pendleton Street.

See also



  1. Biography VII - Jonathan Maxcy, D.D.
  2. Biography VII - Jonathan Maxcy, D.D.
  3. Union College Online Encyclopedia article Jonathan Maxcy

External links

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