William M. Stewart

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William M. Stewart

1853-1855, Montgomery Masonic College; 1855-1858, Stewart College; 1869-1870, Stewart College (acting)

William Stewart was born in Philadelphia in 1803 and was fascinated from an early age with the natural world. At the age of twenty, he was invited to join the prestigious Academy of Natural Science.

He moved to middle Tennessee near Clarksville in 1832 and became a successful manufacturer of Pig Iron. He was one of eight men who underwrote the construction costs of the College’s first building, the Castle.

Stewart is listed on the faculty roster in the opening session of 1851 when the college was known as Montgomery Masonic College. The College soon fell into financial trouble and through the efforts of Stewart, Presbyterian elder, the Nashville Synod of the Presbyterian Church took ownership of the College in 1855. To honor this alliance and Stewart’s personal donations which saved the fledgling school from closing, the College was renamed Stewart College.