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William Barton Rogers

Born: 7-Dec-1804
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Died: 30-May-1882
Location of death: Cambridge, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Educator, Administrator
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

William Barton Rogers was a 19th century geologist who founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founded the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He attended the College of William and Mary, where his father was Professor of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, but it is unclear whether the younger Rogers received a degree. He operated an academy and later taught natural science at Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, then was appointed a Professor at William and Mary after his father's death. With his brothers, geologist Henry Darwin Rogers and physician Robert Empire Rogers, he co-founded the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists in 1840, which eight years later was renamed the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He later taught at the University of Virginia, and as State Geologist led the first geological survey of that state.

He first proposed "a polytechnic school in Boston" in 1846, then came to Massachusetts in 1853, where he spent the next eight years seeking a land grant and financial support for the new educational facility he envisioned. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered in 1861, but the American Civil War delayed its opening until 20 February 1865. In his diary entry that day, after the first classes were held in Boston's downtown Mercantile Library Building, Rogers wrote, "Organized the school! Fifteen students entered. May not this prove a memorable day!"

Father: Patrick Kerr Rogers (Professor at College of William and Mary, b. 1776, d. 1828)
Mother: Hannah Blithe Rogers (m. 1801, d. 1820)
Brother: James Blythe Rogers (Professor at University of Cincinnati, b. 11-Feb-1802)
Brother: Henry Darwin Rogers (Professor at University of Glasgow, b. 1-Aug-1808)
Brother: Robert Empie Rogers (Professor at University of Virginia, b. 29-Mar-1813, d. 1884)
Wife: Emma Savage Rogers (m. 20-Jun-1849, d. 1911, no children)

    University: College of William and Mary
    Teacher: Natural Philosophy, Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts (1827-28)
    Professor: Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, College of William and Mary (1828-35)
    Professor: Mathematics, College of William and Mary (1830-35)
    Professor: Natural Philosophy, University of Virginia (1835-53)
    Administrator: Founder, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1861)
    Professor: Natural Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Administrator: President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1862-70, 1879-81)

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science Co-Founder (1840)
    Boston Museum of Science
    Virginia State Official State Geologist (1835-48)
    Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences
    Geological Society of London Foreign Member
    Virginia Historical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    Irish Ancestry (paternal)
    Scottish Ancestry (maternal)


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