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Barnwell, Robert Woodward (10 August 1801–25 November 1882), educator, congressman, and U.S. and Confederate senator, was born at Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of Robert Gibbes Barnwell, a prosperous planter and Federalist member of Congress, and Elizabeth Wigg Hayne. In 1817 he entered Harvard College, where he became friendly with ...

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Graham, Frank Porter (14 October 1886–16 February 1972), university president and U.S. senator, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of Alexander Graham, the superintendent of schools, and Katherine Sloan. Both parents were of Scotch Presbyterian ancestry.

At the University of North Carolina, which he entered in 1905, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, and, as president of the YMCA, took part in evangelical Protestant programs to improve society. The college yearbook for 1909 called him “Frank, Laddie Buck. Everyman’s friend, confidant and playfellow.”...

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Preston, William Campbell (27 December 1794–22 May 1860), U.S. senator and college president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis Smith Preston, a wealthy and well-connected member of Congress from Abingdon, Virginia, and Sarah Buchanan Campbell, the daughter of the celebrated revolutionary war colonel ...

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Hiram Rhoades Revels. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98798)

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Revels, Hiram Rhoades (27 September 1827?–16 January 1901), senator, clergyman, and educator, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of free parents of mixed blood. Little is known of his family or early years. At eight or nine he enrolled in a private school for black children, where he was “fully and successfully instructed by our able teacher in all branches of learning” (Revels, p. 2). About 1842 his family moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina, where Revels became a barber. Two years later he entered Beech Grove Seminary, a Quaker institution two miles south of Liberty, Indiana. In 1845 he enrolled at another seminary in Darke County, Ohio, and during this period may also have studied theology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio....

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Terry Sanford [left to right] President-elect John F. Kennedy and Terry Sanford, 1960. Photograph by the Associated Press. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Sanford, Terry (20 August 1917–18 April 1998), governor, college president, and U.S. senator, was born James Terry Sanford in Laurinburg, North Carolina, the son of Cecil LeRoy Sanford, hardware merchant, and Elizabeth Terry Martin, schoolteacher. After receiving his early education in local public schools, he attended Presbyterian Junior College and then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with a B.A. in 1939. After serving as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for two years (1941–1942), Sanford resigned and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He married Margaret Rose Knight in July 1942; the couple had two children. Sanford saw service as a paratrooper in several European campaigns (including the invasion of southern France and the Battle of the Bulge) and was decorated with both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Discharged as a first lieutenant in December 1945, he returned to his alma mater and received an LL.B. in 1946. Admitted to the bar that same year, he remained in Chapel Hill and served as assistant director of the Institute of Government until 1948....