Charles William Dabney

Portrait of Dabney by Lloyd Branson

Charles William Dabney (June 19, 1855 June 15, 1945) was President of the University of Tennessee and the University of Cincinnati.[1]


He was born on June 19, 1855 in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia to Robert Lewis Dabney and Lavinia Morrison. He completed his B.S. at Hampden-Sydney College at age 17. He then attended the University of Virginia and graduated with an M.S. in chemistry in 1877.[2]

He taught for a year at Emory and Henry College. He attended the University of Goettingen in Germany in 1878 and graduated with a Ph.D. in 1880. He then returned to the United States. Dabney married Mary Chilton Brent, and began working as the director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in North Carolina and Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina.[2]

Dabney served as ambassador to Brazil, in addition, he received 5 honorary doctorates, was elected a member of the Institute of Public Instruction in France, and was made chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1915. Dabney is best known at NC State for assisting in writing the founding legislation of the University and for his lifelong efforts in the development of the South, especially North Carolina.

He became president of the University of Tennessee in 1887. As president he added six new four-year courses in science, and admitted the University's first female students.[2]

He became President of the University of Cincinnati on January 12, 1904 and served until 1920. In 1893 he was named to be Assistant Secretary of Agriculture by Grover Cleveland.[3]

He died on June 15, 1945.[2]


  1. "Charles W. Dabney: Eleventh President, 1887-1904". University of Tennessee. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Charles W. Dabney". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. "Dr. Charles W. Dabney Selected. To be the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture". New York Times. December 11, 1893. Retrieved 2011-11-20. The President to-day sent to the Senate the name of Charles W. Dabney, Jr., of Tennessee to be Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, vice Edwin Willits, resigned. Dr. Dabney is the President of the University of Tennessee. ...
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Academic offices
Preceded by
Joseph Edward Harry
President of the University of Cincinnati
1904 – 1920
Succeeded by
Frederick Charles Hicks

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