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Early Contributors to Graduate Education at UNL
A.H. Edgren (1840-1903)

In 1885, August Hjalmar Edgren became a member of the University of Nebraska faculty as Professor of Modern Languages and of Sanskrit. His work earned him the distinction of being an internationally recognized linguist and philologist. Edgren served as the major proponent for the creation of graduate studies at the University. During the beginning of his tenure, he chaired a faculty committee that formed the program of study for a Master of Arts degree, and in 1895 he chaired the committee that drafted the proposal for a graduate school. Edgren put into place formal standards and requirements for graduate courses and seminars, examinations, research, and theses. He also served as the Graduate School's first Dean. While at Nebraska, he received three offers from Sweden, his homeland, to return to teach. He declined the first two offers, but in 1901 he accepted the position of Literature Director for the Nobel Institute.

George E. Howard (1849-1929) served as one of the first faculty members at the University of Nebraska to offer graduate instruction. After graduating from UNL in 1876, he studied for two years at the University at Munich before accepting an appointment as first Professor of History at Nebraska. He served as the Chair of the Department of History from 1879 until 1891. At the request of two women students, he pursued opportunities for post-graduate education. In 1883, the Board of Regents gave permission to the Department to initiate courses for a master's degree.

George E. Howard (1849-1929)

James H. Canfield (1847-1909)

James H. Canfield served as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1891 until 1895. Prior to his appointment, Canfield taught and served as Chair of History at the University of Kansas. Canfield supported education for all members of society, not just for the limited number who were solely interested in scholarship. He also believed the University should serve the needs of Nebraskans and traveled throughout the state promoting that connection. Through his efforts and with his skills in public relations, Canfield assisted in broadening the public's knowledge of the University, increasing the influence of the university administration, and providing a foundation for the University's future within the state. At the beginning of his term just a few hundred students attending the University. At the time of his resignation, that number had increased to over one thousand students.

While teaching at the Iowa State College of Agriculture, Charles E. Bessey was selected by the UNL regents as a professor of botany and horticulture. Though he had been selected without his knowledge, Bessey accepted the post in 1885. On three different occasions, he served as Acting Chancellor, always choosing not to accept the position permanently. Bessey initiated a program of scientific experimentation in agriculture that focused on outreach to regional farmers, research courses, and laboratory work in botany. Both as a professor and as an acting chancellor, Bessey provided a new and enlightened environment in which to expand studies and graduate education. Bessey is recognized as developing the foundations for the study of American botany and as one of the leading botanists of his generation.

Charles E. Bessey (1845-1915)

Mary L. Jones (1865-1946)

Mary Letitia Jones, considered a pioneer for women in the field of library science, served as the first professional librarian at the University of Nebraska. Jones graduated from the University in 1885 and went on to receive a degree from the New York State Library School in 1892. She returned to Nebraska to the position of assistant librarian, and in 1892 Chancellor James Canfield appointed her acting librarian. She also served as an adjunct professor of bibliography. Jones intiated the formal organization of the library through the classification of over 12,000 volumes in the collection and developed a card catalog for the materials.

Lucius Adelno Sherman studied at Yale and recieved his Ph.D. in 1875 in Greek and Sanskrit. His research and studies focused on literary criticism, and he gained prominence for his work as an author, translator, and editor. In 1882 he joined the University of Nebraska faculty as Professor of English Language and Literature and later took the position of Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts in 1886. Sherman served as Dean of the Graduate School from 1901 until 1926, a period that marked the transition of the School from the Graduate School to the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska.

L.A. Sherman (1847-1933)
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