Stockton, Charles Herbert

From GW Encyclopedia

President of The George Washington University


Ninth President of George Washington University


Charles Herbert Stockton (1845-1924) was the son of a Protestant Episcopal clergyman. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1845. He died in 1924. Stockton received a private school education, and at the age of 16 he entered the Naval Academy, from which he was graduated in 1865. He went into active service at once as a midshipman, and was rapidly promoted in rank. During the summer of 1864 he was on duty on the Macedonian, which made the memorable pursuit of the Confederate steamers, the Florida and the Tallahassee. While Lieutenant Commander, in 1889, he cruised the Arctic Ocean from the mouth of the Mackenzie to Wrangal Land, in command of the Thetis. He was commissioned a Captain in 1899, Rear Admiral in 1906, and was retired October 13, 1907. Subsequently, from 1908-1909, he was First United States Delegate to the London Naval Conference.

He was a lecturer in international law at the United States Naval War College from 1897-1900, and was President of the same institution from 1898-1900. Among others, the following are some of the works which he either wrote or edited: History of the United States Asylum, The Laws and Usages of War: A Naval War Code, and A Manual of International Law. It was in recognition of his services in the field of international law that the University conferred upon him the honorary LL.D. at the 1909 Commencement.

GW Tenure Information: Charles Herbert Stockton was made Acting President in May 1910. In June of that year the Attorney General made a preliminary report upon the financial affairs of the University and found that the expenses of the University had exceeded its income and endangered the endowment. A heavy mortgage was placed on the properties housing the Medical School and Hospital. President Stockton, during the early years of his administration served without compensation. He maintained a close scrutiny on all expenditures and laid the basis for a solid recovery for the University. Through the urging of Dr. Stockton, the Department of Arts and Sciences was moved in 1912 to 2023 G Street, the area that George Washington himself had selected as the site for "his" University. Foggy Bottom was established as the new central location. President Stockton's credentials could not have been better for the challenges that would confront the University. Perhaps his most significant qualification for guiding the University during World War I was his status as a retired Rear Admiral. As the United States drew ever closer to full involvement in the conflict, Stockton placed the University at the government's disposal. Also during the Stockton Presidency the Law School became co-educational, the College of Engineering and Mechanical Arts became the School of Engineering and the Summer Sessions were established.

Buildings or other markers named for individual: Stockton Hall.

Document Information

Images: 1
Photographic Credit: GW University Historical Photographs Collection
Author or Source: Bricks Without Straw; University Archives subject and personnel files
Document Location: University Archives
Date Added to Encyclopedia: January 19, 2007
Prepared by: G. David Anderson; Lyle Slovick

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