Nominations:William Watts Folwell

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1833-1929 Historian, political scientist and educator.

He was appointed the first president of the University of Minnesota 23 August 1869. He had the vision to see what the university of the future must be. He said the University is essential to the well-being rather than to the being of the state. He left the Presidency in 1884, but continued in the dual role of librarian and professor of political economy, retiring in 1907.

While his dealings with the Legislature were fractious, it is generally acknowledged that the University is indebted to him for his pioneering work, and that today's University has come to be what he invisioned.

He was a user of books and a firm supporter of libraries. He served as University Librarian from 1869 until he retired in 1907. He lobbied the Legislature to obtain funds for what was then a very insignificant library. Today University Libraries is one of the largest research libraries in the country as later librarians built on his early efforts.

He was the author of the four-volume History of Minnesota, which is still the definitive history of the state.

He also was the leader of the Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey in 1872.
~Mary C. Combs, Oakdale, MN

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