He Built KU
September 21, 2012- One of KU’s most influential chancellors died on this day in 1908. All one needs do is review the rest of this website to see how often Francis H. Snow touched our present-day university. He helped take KU from being a high school to a full-fledged comprehensive educational institution.
Francis Huntington Snow was a Congregationalist minister from Fitchburg, Massachusetts. A graduate of Williams College in 1862, Snow served in the U. S. Christian Commission in the Civil War. His father had been a friend of future Kansas Governor Charles Robinson before the state of Kansas existed, and it was Robinson, then chair of the Board of Regents, who persuaded Snow to choose the academy over the pulpit. That led him to being one of the first faculty members in 1866. Ironically, Snow’s major areas of study were not those he was hired to teach. Indeed, although he applied for the professor of languages position, Snow was named Chair of Mathematics and Natural Sciences instead. It was a choice no one would regret, including Snow himself. Snow went on to become a leader in his field.
But beyond his achievements in the classroom or his new field of study, so many different aspects of KU life still remain that Snow help create, nurture or promote.
Here is a partial list:
First Faculty – Worked at KU from day one in 1866, into the 20th century.
Spooner Hall – The first library of KU, it was built with funds donated by Snow’s uncle William B. Spooner.
Dyche Hall – Snow was a mentor to Dyche, and helped Dyche in securing funding to build the Natural History Museum.
College of Arts – Founded during Snow’s tenure
The Graduate School – Founded during Snow’s tenure, the PhD program was also introduced.
School of Engineering – Founded during Snow’s tenure
School of Law – Founded during Snow’s tenure
School of Pharmacy – Founded during Snow’s tenure
Athletics – Football and Basketball were both introduced to campus during his time at KU.
Naismith – Snow brought physical educator James Naismith to KU, and along with him, basketball.
Female Faculty – The first female faculty member was hired by Snow
Buildings – Six buildings were added to campus under his watch. There have been two buildings on the Lawrence campus named for Snow.
Evolution – Snow took a lot of heat for lecturing on evolution in the 1890s.
Giving Back to Kansas – Princeton University awarded him an honorary degree for his work in combating insects that plagued Great Plains farmers.
There is more than could be added, much more. You can learn more about Snow on this site. Starting with Driven Snow. Other articles that mention Snow or feature his work can be found on the Francis Huntington Snow theme page.