George Edwin MacLean

George Edwin MacLean

Portrait of George Edwin MacLean

Chancellorship Dates

June 1, 1895 - August 31, 1899


  • A.B., Williams College, 1871
  • B.D., Yale Divinity School, 1874
  • Ph.D., Leipzig University, 1883
  • L.L.D., Williams College, 1895,


August 31, 1850 - Rockville, Connecticut


May 3, 1938 - Washington, D.C.


Mahaiwe Cemetery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

George Edwin MacLean, then a professor of English language and literature at the University of Minnesota, was recommended for the post of chancellor by the outgoing James Canfield, and was promptly elected by the Board of Regents as the sixth chancellor of the University of Nebraska in 1895. Under his watch, the Latin School was discontinued, a Graduate School was organized, the first scholarships instituted, and the University Library (today’s Architectural Hall), begun under Canfield, was opened.

A formal man steeped in the patrician ways of the east, MacLean was in many aspects a great contrast to the gregarious and imaginative Canfield, and suffered for the comparison throughout his tenure. He was steadfast in his belief that research, rather than teaching, should be the main focus of a university. In 1899, he left Nebraska for the position of president of the State University of Iowa (today's University of Iowa), in which capacity he served until 1911. In contrast to Canfield, whose Nebraska tenure represented the pinnacle of his career, MacLean’s most significant years as an institutional leader were those spent with our eastern neighbor.

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