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Birge, Edward Asahel (07 September 1851–09 June 1950), limnologist and president of the University of Wisconsin, was born in Troy, New York, the son of Edward White Birge, a carpenter, farmer, and bookkeeper, and Ann Stevens. The family was Presbyterian and deeply religious. After completing high school, Birge was sent to Williams College from 1869 to 1873, with the expectation that he might become a physician. There he excelled in natural history (earning a B.A. in 1873 and an M.A. in 1876), and one of his professors advised him to study under ...