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Winthrop Ellsworth Stone (1862-1921) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Winthrop Ellsworth Stone (1862-1921)

Historical Note:

Winthrop E. Stone was the fifth President of Purdue University.  He was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire on June 12, 1862.  Stone earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Massachusetts Agricultural College in Chemistry in 1882 (some documents report a later degree from Boston University in 1886).  He then spent several years studying at the University of Göttingen in Germany.  He left in 1888 to work as chief chemist at the State of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station and then, in 1889, became professor of chemistry at Purdue University (Purdue Reamer Club 34).

Stone was appointed to the post of Vice President of Purdue in November, 1892, making him the first vice president in the university’s history. He became President of Purdue University following the death of President James H. Smart in February 1900. During his Administration, Stone developed the agriculture program, building the Agriculture Hall (currently Pfendler Hall)(Reamer 33), the Agricultural Experimental Station, and various agricultural farms. Other structures built during Stone’s Administration included “Eliza Fowler Hall, the Memorial Gymnasium, the original Civil Engineering Building, and the original Physics Building” (Reamer 34). Under his leadership, Purdue also developed its engineering (“Past Presidents”), education, and home economics programs (Reamer 34).

While vacationing in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, Stone died in 1921 when he fell during a mountain-climbing expedition on Mount Eon.  Stone Hall was built as a memorial to him following his death (Reamer 34).


"Past Presidents." Purdue University Website. Purdue University Marketing and Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

Purdue Reamer Club. University of Tradition: The Spirit of Purdue. West Lafayette, Ind: Purdue University Press, 2013.

Note Author: Michael Maune

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