William Smith (Episcopalian priest)

William Smith (Episcopalian Priest)

William Smith (Episcopalian priest)

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William Smith (September 7, 1727 – May 14, 1803) was the first provost of the University of Pennsylvania.

thumb|300px|right|Dr William Smith's residence as it appeared circa 1919


Smith was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, to Thomas and Elizabeth (Duncan) Smith. He attended the University of Aberdeen. In 1753, Smith wrote a pamphlet outlining his thoughts about education. The book fell into the hands of Benjamin Franklin; as a result Franklin asked Smith to come to Philadelphia and teach at the newly established academy there (now the University of Pennsylvania).

In 1755 Smith became the first provost (the equivalent of the modern post of college president) of the school. He held the post until 1779. Smith was an Anglican priest and together with William Moore, Smith was briefly jailed in 1758 for his criticism of the military policy in the Quaker-run colony. Indeed, during the French and Indian War, Smith published two anti-Quaker pamphlets that advocated the disenfranchisement of all Quakers—who were, at the time, the political elite in Pennsylvania. However, their pacifist beliefs made it difficult for the Quakers in government to provide funds for defense, and as a result anti-Quaker sentiment ran high, especially in the backcountry which suffered from...
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