John Alexander Anderson

John Alexander Anderson

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John Alexander Anderson

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John Alexander Anderson (June 26, 1834 – May 18, 1892) was a six-term U.S. Congressman from Kansas (1879–1891), and the second President of Kansas State Agricultural College (1873–1879).

Anderson was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1834, and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1853. His father, William Caldwell Anderson, served as the fourth President of Miami University during this time, holding that position from 1849 to 1854. Future U.S. President Benjamin Harrison was his roommate for a time in college.

Church career and University Presidency

Following graduation, John Anderson entered the Presbyterian ministry, and was ordained four years later. His first charge was located in Stockton, California, where he served until 1862 when he was appointed chaplain of the Third regiment, California volunteer infantry. In this capacity, he accompanied General Patrick Edward Connor and the regiment on its expedition to Salt Lake City, Utah. Alexander resigned from this role in the spring of 1863, and he was subsequently appointed relief agent, United States Sanitary Commission, a post he held until 1865.

In 1868 Anderson came to Kansas as pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Junction City. He soon became a vocal critic of the fact that Kansas State Agricultural College, the Land-grant university in neighboring Manhattan, Kansas, was focusing on providing a classic liberal arts education rather than a practical agricultural...
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