Charles William Eliot
1834 – 1926
American Educator

C. W. Eliot was educated at Harvard University.  He became an assistant professor of mathematics and chemistry at Harvard from 1858-1863.  He spent the next few years studying chemistry and foreign educational methods.  He returned to the U.S. in 1865 to become professor of analytical chemistry at the newly formed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, remaining there until 1869, when he became the 22nd president of Harvard University.  Influenced by what he had seen abroad, Eliot remodeled the university curriculum on a liberal basis.  Although he did not originate the elective system, he established it so thoroughly that it spread to other colleges.