Derby History Quiz
Dr. George Thacher
University of Iowa 1871 - 1877
Dr. George Thacher is just one of several Derby residents who moved on to head major universities around the country. In this case it was the University of Iowa that was headed by a former Derby minister. Dr. Thacher was born in Hartford and was educated at Hopkins Grammar School, Yale College and Yale Divinity School. Following his graduation from the Divinity School, he came to Derby where he was ordained in 1844 and served as minister at the First Congregational Church from 1843-1848.
From Derby, he served in Nantucket, New York City, and Meriden before landing in Iowa and emerging as president of the University in 1871. He served as president for six years and is credited with leading the school to a higher level of professionalism, though his dismissal in 1877 was not handled very well. He was notified of his dismissal the day before commencement.
He married Sarah M. Smith in 1844, but she died in 1850. The following year he married her sister, Mary S. Smith. He had three children. Thacher died in Hartford 1879 at the age of 61.
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