Robert W. Oliver, 1865-1867
Biography of Robert W. Oliver (1815-1899)
The Reverend Robert W. Oliver served as the first chancellor of the University of Kansas. Oliver was originally sent to Lawrence in 1863 by the Episcopal church to take charge of the Lawrence parish. After the Board of Regents formed in 1865, they elected Oliver to the unpaid position of Chancellor.
Though he was unpaid as a chancellor, he was paid five hundred dollars a year to serve as the financial agent of the University. His financial acumen was important, as he found himself the head of an institution without a building and without the funds to build one. He engaged in a series of financial and fundraising acrobatics, including arranging for $11,000 of Quantrill relief aid to be diverted to the University's building fund.
With a newly constructed building, Chancellor Oliver led the first 40 students and faculty in morning devotions on the first day of class, September 12, 1866. He served until December 1867, when he left to take a pastorate in Kearney, Nebraska.
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