Thomas Van Scoy

Last updated
Thomas Van Scoy
Thomas Van Scoy 1884.png
Van Scoy around 1884
6thPresident of
Willamette University
In office
Preceded by Charles E. Lambert
Succeeded by George Whitaker
Personal details
BornFebruary 13, 1848
White County, Indiana
DiedFebruary 11, 1901(1901-02-11) (aged 52)
Helena, Montana
Spouse(s)Jennie E. Thomas
Jessie Eastham
Alma mater Northwestern University
ProfessionEducator, minister
Willamette University info [1]

Thomas Van Scoy (February 13, 1848 February 11, 1901) was an American minister and educator in Indiana, Oregon, and Montana. A Methodist, he served as the sixth president of Willamette University and as president of the now defunct Portland University. He was also president of Montana Wesleyan University and served in the militia at the end of the American Civil War.

Indiana state of the United States of America

Indiana is a U.S. state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th-largest by area and the 17th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816. Indiana borders Lake Michigan to the northwest, Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south and southeast, and Illinois to the west.

Oregon state of the United States of America

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada.

Montana U.S. state in the United States

Montana is a state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently "The Last Best Place".


Early years

Thomas Van Scoy was born in White County, Indiana, to William Van Scoy and his wife Mary (née Channel) on February 13, 1848. [2] Thomas was the youngest of fourteen children in the family. [3] Their father was a farmer from what became West Virginia, while their mother was from Ohio. [2] In 1855, the family moved to Iowa where they continued to farm. [2] Van Scoy's parents and the three youngest children in the family returned to the Indiana farm in 1860 after difficult times in Iowa. [2] In Indiana, Van Scoy received his education in the local schools before joining the militia in 1865 during the American Civil War. [2] He served one year in Company I of the Indiana Volunteers, posted as a guard in the Shenandoah Valley. [2]

White County, Indiana U.S. county in Indiana

White County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,643. The county seat is Monticello.

West Virginia U.S. state in the United States

West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States, and is also considered to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic Southeast Region. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, and is ranked 38th in population. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

Ohio U.S. state in the United States

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus. Ohio is bordered by Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Lake Erie to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.

After leaving the infantry in 1866, he enrolled at a school in Brookston, Indiana, for a few months and then at the Battle Ground Collegiate Institute. [2] Van Scoy spent two years at the institute and while in school was also a school teacher. [2] He then enrolled at Brookston Academy where he spent one year before entering Northwestern University in neighboring Illinois where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. [2] [4] Following two-years of study, he left to take the position of principal at Brookston, but resigned there three years later to return to college. [3] In 1875, he graduated from Northwestern (later inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society) [5] and began working as a minister in Rensselaer, Indiana, for the Methodist Episcopal Church. [2] On September 22, 1875, he married Jennie E. Thomas. [3] After three years he left to continue his education at the Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois, where he graduated in 1879. [2] [6]

Brookston, Indiana Town in Indiana, United States

Brookston is a town in Prairie Township, White County, in the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 1,554 as of the 2010 census.

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its selective undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Illinois American State

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.


In 1879, he was hired by Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, to be chairman of the Greek department and to teach ancient languages. [2] [3] [6] Part of the reason for the move was to attempt to improve the health of his wife, but this was unsuccessful and she died in 1883. [2] After he was hired at Willamette, Charles E. Lambert resigned as president of the institution and Van Scoy was hired as the sixth president of Willamette University in 1880. [2] [7] At Willamette he purchased the former home of the first graduate of the school for use as a school for women in 1880. [8] He purchased the home with his own money and remodeled the home, with the building later moved to the campus and renamed as Lausanne Hall. [8]

Willamette University private university located in Salem, Oregon

Willamette University is a private liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest university in the Western United States. Willamette is a member of the Annapolis Group of colleges, and is made up of an undergraduate College of Liberal Arts and post-graduate schools of business and law. The university is a member of the NCAA's Division III Northwest Conference and was featured in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives. Approximately 2,100 students are enrolled at Willamette between the graduate and undergraduate programs.

Salem, Oregon State capital city in Oregon, United States

Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. The river forms the boundary between Marion and Polk counties, and the city neighborhood of West Salem is in Polk County. Salem was founded in 1842, became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851, and was incorporated in 1857.

Lausanne Hall

Lausanne Hall is a college residence hall at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, United States. Built in 1920, the red-brick and stone-accented structure stands three stories tall along Winter Street on the western edge of the campus that was originally a residence for women only. The late Gothic Revival style building replaced a home that had also been used as a dormitory. This structure was moved to campus and originally was named as the Women's College before assuming the name of Lausanne.

In 1884, Van Scoy was granted a doctor of divinity degree by the University of the Pacific. [2] Van Scoy remarried in 1885 to Jessie Eastham, and they had one son named Paul, while he previously had a daughter named Lena with his first wife. [2] In February 1887, he purchased the desks that were formerly at the Oregon State Capital across the street from the school. [9] Van Scoy resigned from Willamette in June 1891 to become dean at the new Methodist school in Portland, Portland University. [2] He also served as president of that school, [10] and due to financial difficulties moved the school to East Portland, though some classes were held in Downtown Portland. [11] The school later closed in 1900 and the campus overlooking the Willamette River and Swan Island was sold. [11] The campus included West Hall, and was sold to the Catholic Church, eventually becoming the University of Portland. [11] Van Scoy was the first minister at the Montavilla Methodist Church in Southeast Portland, dedicating a new building on October 19, 1893. [12]

University of the Pacific (United States) Private university in Stockton, California, United States

University of the Pacific is a private university that has three campuses located in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Stockton, California. It is the oldest chartered university in California, the first independent co-educational campus in California, and both the first conservatory of music and first medical school on the West Coast.

Portland, Oregon city in Oregon, USA

Portland is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of 2018, Portland had an estimated population of 653,115, making it the 25th most populated city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest. Approximately 2.4 million people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous in the United States. Its combined statistical area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million. Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.

Portland University Former private university in Portland, Oregon

Portland University was a private, Methodist post-secondary school in Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1891 in a split from Willamette University, the school closed in 1900. The campus was located in what is now the University Park neighborhood and later became home of the University of Portland. The original campus building, West Hall, still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Later years

In 1898, Van Scoy left Oregon for Montana in order to be the new president of Montana Wesleyan University (eventually became part of Rocky Mountain College) [13] near Helena. [2] As president he moved the school to the city in 1900. [2] Though he never held political office, he was a supporter of the Republican Party. [3] Thomas Van Scoy died on February 11, 1901, in Helena at the age of 52 and was buried in that city. [6]

Rocky Mountain College

Rocky Mountain College is a private college in Billings, Montana. It offers 50 liberal arts and professional majors in 24 undergraduate disciplines. In fall 2013, the college had 1069 enrolled students. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the United Church of Christ.

Helena, Montana State capital city in Montana, United States

Helena is the state capital of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County.

Related Research Articles

God Save the Tsar! national anthem

"God Save the Tsar!" was the national anthem of the Russian Empire and, for a time, the national anthem of the Principality of Bulgaria. The song was chosen from a competition held in 1833 and was first performed on 18 December 1833. The composer was violinist Alexei Lvov, and the lyrics were by the court poet Vasily Zhukovsky. It was the anthem until the Russian Revolution of 1917, after which "Worker's Marseillaise" was adopted as the new national anthem until the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government.

Southern Methodist University Private university in Dallas, Texas, United States

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is a private Methodist research university in University Park, Texas. SMU also operates satellite campuses in Plano, Texas and Taos, New Mexico.

Pietro Belluschi American architect

Pietro Belluschi was an Italian architect, a leader of the Modern Movement in architecture, and was responsible for the design of over 1,000 buildings.

Baker University

Baker University is a private liberal arts university located in Baldwin City, Kansas. Founded in 1858, it was the first four-year university in Kansas and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Baker University is made up of four schools. The College of Arts and Sciences and the undergraduate courses in the School of Education (SOE) are located on the campus in Baldwin City, Kansas. The School of Professional and Graduate Studies (SPGS) and the graduate branch of the SOE serve nontraditional students on campuses in Overland Park, Kansas, and online. The School of Nursing, which is operated in partnership with Stormont Vail Health in Topeka, offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Public university in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) is a public research university in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. As of fall 2019, the university enrolled 9,215 undergraduates and 2,110 postgraduates, for a total enrollment of 11,325 students. The university is 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Pittsburgh. It is governed by a local Council of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. IUP has branch campuses at Punxsutawney, Northpointe, and Monroeville. IUP is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

William Fraser McDowell was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1904. He was born in Millersburg, Ohio, U.S.

Montavilla, Portland, Oregon Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, United States

Montavilla is a neighborhood in the Northeast and Southeast sections of Portland, Oregon, United States, and contains an area east of Mount Tabor and west of Interstate 205, from the Banfield to SE Division. It is bordered by North Tabor, Mount Tabor, Madison South, Hazelwood, and Powellhurst-Gilbert.

Willamette University College of Medicine

Willamette University College of Medicine is a former school of medicine that was part of Willamette University. Founded in 1867 as the first medical school in Oregon, the school relocated between Portland and the main university campus in Salem several times. The school was merged with the University of Oregon's medical school in Portland in 1913. That school later became Oregon Health & Science University.

Richard William Riggs is an American attorney and former judge in the state of Oregon. He is a senior judge for Oregon, and was the 94th justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from 1998 to 2006.

Thomas Milton Gatch American mayor

Thomas Milton Gatch was an American educator and politician in Oregon. He served one term as mayor of Salem, Oregon, was the president of what would become Oregon State University, served as president of the University of Washington, and twice served as president of Willamette University. A native of Ohio, he was the first president of Oregon State University to hold a doctorate degree.

Abram Winegardner Harris was the fourteenth president of Northwestern University, serving from 1906 to 1916. He was also the first President of the University of Maine from 1896 to 1906.

Francis S. Hoyt American academic administrator

Francis Southack Hoyt was an American educator from the state of Vermont. A minister and the son of a minister, he served as the first President of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he and his wife were also teachers. Hoyt also taught at Ohio Wesleyan University and Baldwin University, and served as editor of several publications.

Waldschmidt Hall United States historic place

Waldschmidt Hall is an academic building at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon, United States. Constructed in 1891 as West Hall, the building was originally part of the now defunct Portland University located in North Portland overlooking the Willamette River. The Romanesque style structure built of brick and stone stands five stories tall. The hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and renovated in 1992, the same year it took the current name. Waldschmidt, the oldest building on campus, now houses the school's administration offices and some classrooms.

George Whitaker (Oregon educator) American university President

George Whitaker was an American minister and university president in Texas and Oregon. A native of Massachusetts, he served as the president of Wiley College in Texas, along with Willamette University and Portland University in Oregon. A Methodist trained preacher and graduate of Wesleyan University, he also worked as a pastor across the country in the late 19th century, primarily in New England.

Portland Academy and Female Seminary Private, secondary school in the United States

The Portland Academy and Female Seminary was a private school in Portland, Oregon, United States, operated by the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1851 until 1876. Often abbreviated as the Portland Academy, the school was among the few secondary schools in Portland during the years of the Oregon Territory. Later it served briefly as an alternative to Portland High School.

Delta Psi Kappa (ΔΨΚ) is a national honors fraternity in the disciplines of health and physical education, health sciences, and recreation.


  1. Past Presidents. Willamette University. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Progressive Men of the State of Montana. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co. c. 1903. pp. 1282–1293. OCLC   84264672.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Hodgkin, F. E.; J. J. Galvin (1882). Pen Pictures of Representative Men of Oregon. Farmer and Dairyman Pub. House, Portland. pp. 84–85.
  4. Phi Gamma Delta's College and University Presidents. Archived 2011-08-07 at the Wayback Machine Phi Gamma Delta. Retrieved on April 1, 2009.
  5. Wilde, Arthur Herbert. (1905). Northwestern University: A History, 1855-1905. The University Pub. Co., Vol 3. p. 117.
  6. 1 2 3 King, George D. (1901). “Memoirs: Thomas Van Scoy”, Montana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church Official Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church. p. 40.
  7. Odell, Elizabeth French McLench. (1884). A Semi-Centennial Offering to the Members and Friends of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Salem, Oregon. S. N.. p. 29.
  8. 1 2 Summerfield, Carol J., Mary Elizabeth Devine, and Anthony Levi. (1998). International Dictionary of University Histories. Taylor & Francis, p. 715. ISBN   1-884964-23-0.
  9. Baker, Frank C. (1887). The Journal of the House of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon for the Fourteenth Regular Session with Appendix. Oregon State Printer. p. 825.
  10. Bureau of Education (1897). Report of the Secretary of the Interior; Being Part of the Message and Documents Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the Beginning of the Second Session of the Fifty-Fourth Congress. Government Printing Office, Vol. 5, Pt. 2. p. 952.
  11. 1 2 3 Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 202.
  12. Cargill, Linda. "Montavilla congregation's anniversary recall three-church history", The Oregonian, October 14, 1993, Portland Zoner, p. 3.
  13. "Heritage Archives". Rocky Mountain College. August 21, 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Charles E. Lambert
President of Willamette University
Succeeded by
George Whitaker