On this day in 1865, Eugene William Bohannon—the first president of the Duluth Normal School—was born in Boonville, Indiana. After receiving his masters from the University of Indiana and a doctor of philosophy from Clark University at Worchester, Massachusetts, he rose to superintendent of schools at Rensselaer, Indiana, serving from 1893 to 1895. He then moved to Minnesota, and from 1898 to 1901 was department head of psychology and pedagogy in the State Normal School at Mankato. Bohannon moved to Duluth in 1901to act as the president of the Duluth State Normal School there. When the school opened in the fall of 1902, the one-building campus had a faculty of ten instructors—including Bohannon. But with less than 100 students, it was a pretty good ratio. Bohannon was still president when The Normal School became the Duluth State Teachers College in 1921 and remained in the position until his retirement in 1938. Less than ten years later, the Duluth Teacher’s College became the University of Minnesota Duluth. Bohannon belonged to the Kitchi Gammi Club, the Duluth Commercial Club, and served on the Duluth Public Library Board. He died in 1955. In 1974 UMD built a new structure to house what is now the College of Education and Human Service Professions (as well as the Departments of Psychology and Social Work ). It is named Bohannon Hall in honor of the school’s first president.
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