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John Augustine Smith

President of the College of William & Mary

Died when: 82 years 164 days (989 months)
Star Sign: Virgo


John Augustine Smith

John Augustine Smith (29 August 1782 – 9 February 1865) was the tenth president of the College of William and Mary, serving from 1814 to 1826.

Smith was born into a prominent Westmoreland County family as the son of Reverend Thomas Smith.He was graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1800, studied medicine and settled as a physician in New York City.

In 1809 he became lecturer on anatomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and editor of the Medical and Physiological Journal.

In 1814 he was elected president of the College of William & Mary.Smith was the first layman to hold the presidency.

In 1824, Because of low enrollment at the College, he proposed that it be moved to Richmond from Williamsburg; this proposal was defeated by the General Assembly and the controversy from the proposal eventually caused Smith to resign.

After leaving the College of William and Mary, Smith joined the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, eventually becoming its president in 1831.

While at King's College, he was also a prominent advocate of scientific racism, justifying white supremacy using phrenology and advocating for black people to be removed from the United States.

Smith's publications include "Introductory Discourse" (New York, 1837), "Select Discourse on the Functions of the Nervous System" (1840), "The Mutations of the Earth" (1846) and "Moral and Physical Science" (1853).

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