Biographical Notes: Presidents of Drew University

*Indicates that Drew University Archives contains a significant collection relating to the person/family.


John McClintock (1867-1870)
John McClintock (1814-1870) was the first president of Drew Theological Seminary, later Drew University, and served the institution as both president and professor of practical theology from 1867 until his death. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, McClintock taught at Dickinson College and then became editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review. In 1857, McClintock became pastor of St. Paul's Church in New York City, where he became acquainted with Daniel Drew, the financier who provided funding for the seminary. Under McClintock's administrative supervision, Drew Theological Seminary was born. [See a portrait of McClintock]

Randolph Sinks Foster (1870-1873)
Randolph Sinks Foster (1820-1903) was the second president of Drew Theological Seminary, later Drew University. Foster attended Augusta College but left before graduating to become a circuit preacher in Ohio. He went on to become pastor of the Mulberry Street Church in New York City, where he met Daniel Drew, the financier who provided funding for the seminary. In the fall of 1868, he accepted John McClintock's invitation to become professor of systematic theology at Drew. After the death of Drew's first president in 1870, Foster was elected to the post. He remained president for only three years, at which time he was named a Bishop and assigned to Cincinnati, Ohio.

John Fletcher Hurst (1873-1880)
John Fletcher Hurst (1834-1903) was the third president of Drew Theological Seminary, later Drew University. Hurst took his B.A. from Dickinson College in 1854 and became a preacher. In 1866, he began a five-year appointment as professor of systematic theology at the Martin Mission Institute in Bremen, Germany. In 1870, Hurst was chosen to teach historic theology at Drew, and only three years later, he was elected president. During his tenure, Hurst was a great fundraiser, but like Foster before him, Hurst was named a Bishop and assigned to Des Moines, Iowa, in 1880.

Henry Anson Buttz (1880-1912)
Henry Anson Buttz (1835-1920) was the fourth president of Drew Theological Seminary, later Drew University. Buttz attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he attained an A.B. in 1858 and an M.A. in 1861. He preached at the Morristown Methodist church until he came to Drew in 1868, where he was soon named professor of Greek and New Testament exegesis. Buttz was one of "the Great Five" revered professors who led Drew for decades. Upon President Hurst's departure in 1880, Buttz was elected to the seminary's presidency. For thirty-two years, Buttz guided a superior faculty and an ever-growing student body. Although he resigned the presidency to a younger generation in 1912, Buttz continued as professor until 1918. [See a portrait of Buttz] (Buttz-Sitterly Collection Finding Aid: PDF, HTML)

Ezra Squier Tipple (1912-1929)
Ezra S. Tipple (1861-1936) was the fifth president of Drew Theological Seminary, later Drew University. An 1887 B.D. graduate of Drew, Tipple was a strong academician who also earned an A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University. He took the pastorate at St. Luke's Church in New York, and in 1905, became professor of practical theology at Drew. In 1912, when Henry Anson Buttz resigned as president, Tipple accepted the post. During his presidency, Drew accepted women students on a limited basis. Alumni relations and fundraising were important to Tipple, and it was under his direction that the $1.5 million donation for the founding of Brothers College, later the College of Liberal Arts, was accepted; Brothers College began classes in the fall of 1928. At this time, the name of the school evolved from Drew Theological Seminary to Drew University. Later that year, feeling the effects of age, illness and exhaustion, Tipple handed the reigns over to a new president.

Arlo Ayres Brown (1929-1948)
Arlo Ayres Brown (1883-1961) was the sixth president of Drew University. Equipped with an A.B. from Northwestern and a B.D. from Drew, in addition to further graduate studies, Ayres had been a preacher, an army chaplain during WWI, and president of the University of Chattanooga before he assumed presidency of Drew in 1929. His tenure, disrupted by WWII, was full of many changes - in degree programs, in student body, and in campus design, most notably in the building of the Rose Memorial Library. In 1948, he announced his retirement, and the trustees sought a successor.

Fred Holloway (1948-1960)
Fred Garrigus Holloway (1898-1988) was the seventh president of Drew University. He graduated from Western Maryland College in 1918 and received a B.A. from Drew in 1921. Holloway had been both professor of Biblical languages and president at Westminster Theological Seminary, as well as president of Western Maryland College, before being chosen as dean of the Drew Theological Seminary in 1947. Just one year later, upon President Ayres' retirement, Holloway was offered the presidency. Renovating and rebuilding the antiquated campus, a goal for two previous presidents, is Holloway's greatest legacy. New buildings, such as the Baldwin Gymnasium and numerous dormitories, appeared under his direction. A graduate study curriculum was also initiated. But like some of his predecessors, Holloway was elected a Bishop and assigned to West Virginia in 1960.

Robert Fisher Oxnam* (1961-1974)
Robert Fisher Oxnam (1915-1974) was the eighth president of Drew University. Oxnam earned a B.A. from De Pauw University and his M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Southern California. Though his father was a noted Bishop, Oxnam was the first Drew president who was not an ordained minister. Instead, he held many academic posts before becoming president of Pratt Institute in 1957. In 1960, Oxnam was urged to accept presidency of Drew. His years were marked by turbulence - student protests and tensions between the university's three separate schools were major concerns - but Oxnam's goals for a modern university had prevailed. In 1974, Oxnam died after a battle with cancer.

Paul Hardin* (1975-1988)
Paul Hardin (b. 1931) was the ninth president of Drew University. Hardin was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Duke University, where he also earned a law degree. He had been president of Wofford College and Southern Methodist University before being named Drew's president in 1974. A charismatic fundraiser, Hardin brought energy to his post. Among his legacies on campus are the United Methodist Church Archives Center, the remodeled Learning Center, and the Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE) program. After 14 years as president, Hardin left to become chancellor of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Thomas H. Kean* (1990-2005)
Thomas H. Kean (b. 1935) Thomas H. Kean was the tenth president of Drew University. Kean received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his M.A. from Columbia University. He taught private school in Massachusetts before entering politics. He served several terms in the New Jersey General Assembly as was elected governor of the State of New Jersey in 1982. After finishing two terms as governor, Kean became president of Drew University in 1990. During his tenure, he oversaw the construction of the Simon Forum and Athletic Center and the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts, as well as the renovation of many residence halls and the completion of the university's first comprehensive campaign. Following his chairmanship of the national 9/11 Commission, President Kean announced his retirement from the university in 2005.

Robert Weisbuch (2005- )
Robert Weisbuch is the eleventh president of Drew University. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and holds his Ph.D. in English from Yale University. Weisbuch served in many roles at the University of Michigan and just prior to coming to Drew, he served as President of the Woodrow Willson National Fellowship Foundation. For his official biography, visit


  • Cunningham, John. University in the Forest: The Story of Drew University. Third edition, 2002.
  • Faculty/Staff Biography Files, Drew University Archives. Madison, New Jersey.
Last updated 9/8/06 by Jennifer Heise: Cheryl Oestreicher;