Eleazar Wheelock

President, 1769-1779

Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister from Connecticut, founded Dartmouth College in 1769 and served as its first president. The last of the Colonial colleges, Dartmouth was established by a charter granted by King George III, with funds from the second Earl of Dartmouth and others and a grant of land from John Wentworth, Royal Governor of the Province of New Hampshire. Wheelock had earlier established Moor's Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut, to provide education to young American Indian men and train them for missionary work. Hoping to expand his school into a college, but unable to gain a charter in Connecticut, Wheelock looked to the north, where settlements were growing and, with them, the need for educational institutions. Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian and one of Wheelock's first students, was instrumental in making Wheelock's dream a reality by raising funds and goodwill from English and Scottish missionary organizations.

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Portrait Artist & Donor Information

Joseph Steward, The Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, 1793-1796
Oil on canvas
Hood Museum of Art
Commissioned by the Trustees of Dartmouth College
Hood Museum Object Number: P.793.2