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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 28, 2003

UI Presidents Web Site Now Online

Who was the first president of the University of Iowa who was a native of the state and an alumnus of the university? Who was forced to resign during the Civil War because of his pro-Confederate sympathies? Who would eventually serve as U.S. consul in Italy and Australia? Who has a lake named after him?

Answers to those and many other questions about the presidents of the University of Iowa can now be found on a new web site co-hosted by the UI Alumni Association and UI Libraries. The site has photos of all 19 men and women who have served as UI president since 1855 and short biographies of each.

Some of the online portraits are the official presidential portraits that are on display on the fifth floor of the UI Libraries, said David McCartney, UI archivist. The biographical information is from information found in the UI Special Collections Department. The site is housed on the UI Alumni Association Web page and can be found at

Answers to questions above:
John Bowman (1911-1914) was the first president who was a native of the state and an alumnus of the university. A native of Davenport, he graduated from UI in 1899.

Silas Totten (1859-1862) was forced to resign the UI presidency because of his pro-Confederacy views. His son was run out of town by an angry mob for holding similar views and, after fleeing with his life, never returned to Iowa City.

Oliver Spencer (1862-1867) would serve as U.S. consul in Genoa, Italy, after leaving the UI presidency and eventually become U.S. consul general in Melbourne, Australia.

Thomas Macbride (1914-1916) would have Lake Macbride named in his honor. Macbride, a professor of botany, was an early advocate of environmental protection and park development.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,