John Bunyan Shearer
John Bunyan Shearer, A.M., D.D.1870-1879
Dr. Shearer was born and raised in Virginia and received an undergraduate degree from Hampden-Sydney College, his Master’s from the University of Virginia and his divinity degree from Union Seminary. After serving as a pastor at several churches and teaching, he arrived at Stewart College in 1870. The Civil War had devastated the Clarksville economy and the Nashville Synod was barely able to keep the College functioning.
Dr. Shearer realized that even with his fundraising efforts, the upkeep of the College was beyond the resources of the Nashville Synod and joined with Dr. J. Lyon and Dr. Benjamin Morgan Palmer to promote the Plan of Union to the Synods of the Southwest. This eventually resulted in the restructuring of the College as Southwestern Presbyterian University (SPU) in 1875. He returned to teaching at SPU in 1879 and was elected president of Davidson College in 1888. Retiring as president in 1901, he stayed on as vice-president of Davidson until his death in 1918.