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Robert Aaron Condit

Robert Aaron Condit: The Father of Coe College

In 1900, having completed 25 years of service to Coe Collegiate Institute and Coe College, Robert A. Condit was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity, granted to him by Coe's Board of Trustees.  Upon his retirement six years later, he was honored by becoming the first Professor Emeritus in the college's history.  At that time he was also the first faculty member to be granted an annual pension of $1,000, made possible by recent arrangements with the Carnegie Foundation.  

It is fitting that Prof. Condit would be so honored in his final years, because he perhaps more than any other single individual deserves the title of the "Father of Coe College."  On September 1, 1875, the Board's Executive Committee chose Condit as the Institute's principal at a salary of $1,500 per year.  One month later the school began the first of its six years of operation, years when Condit served as the institution's principal and primary instructor.  Born in 1835 and the son of a Presbyterian minister,  Condit came to Cedar Rapids after graduating from Princeton College in 1859 and serving as a Presbyterian minister for churches in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Peoria, and Chicago. 

With the Coe College began its first classes in the fall of 1881, Robert Condit as Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature  was listed first among the faculty.  At the death of President Marshall in 1896, it was Professor Condit who functioned as acting president until McCormick assumed the presidency in 1897.  It was at this time that Condit began a six-year tenure as Dean of the college. 
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