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Holmes, Dwight Oliver Wendell(1877–1963) - College president, Chronology

school university howard education

Dwight Oliver Wendell Holmes was born on November 18, 1877 in Lewisburg, West Virginia. He was the son of a minister in the Washington D.C. and New York conferences of the Methodist Church. Holmes spent his formative years in Annapolis, Maryland; New York; and Staunton, Virginia. His secondary schooling was obtained in the preparatory department of Howard University.

After completing his secondary schooling, Holmes continued at Howard University. As an undergraduate Holmes was an athlete, playing quarterback on the football team and serving as captain of both the baseball and football teams. He established and was the president of Howard’s first tennis team. He earned nine letters for athletics. In addition, Holmes organized Howard’s very first debate competition. He also led Howard’s college Mandolin and Glee Club. Holmes earned a B.A. in 1901. He was the valedictorian of his class.

The next year Holmes began his post-graduate work at Howard and then became an instructor at Sumner High School in St. Louis. In the fall of 1902 he was appointed to teach science courses in the High School of Baltimore in Maryland. While teaching high school, he simultaneously enrolled at Johns Hopkins University for classes in art and education. Holmes continued his education, earning both his MA. and Ph.D. at Columbia University. Howard University awarded Holmes an honorary MA. degree in 1912.



Born in Lewisburg, West Virginia on November 18


Earns B.A. from Howard University; is valedictorian of his class


Teaches at the Sumner High School in St. Louis; teaches science at the High School of Baltimore (Douglass High School)


Enrolls in art and education classes at Johns Hopkins University


Serves as vice principal of Douglass High School in Baltimore


Granted honorary MA from Howard University


Teaches education and psychology at the Miner Normal School in Washington, D.C.


Becomes registrar and professor of education at Howard University


Increases enrollment by one thousand students in the School of Education at Howard


Publishes The Evolution of the Negro College


Heads the graduate school at Howard University


Installed as the sixth president of Morgan College


Dies on September 7

Holmes served four institutions for almost four decades as an educator. He taught at what is now Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland, for fourteen years, chairing the Science Department for eleven years and serving as vice principal for eight years. He left Baltimore in April 1917 to teach psychology and education at the Miner Normal School of Washington, D.C. In 1919, Holmes returned to his alma mater to serve as Howard’s registrar and to teach education courses. He was later appointed dean of Howard’s College of Education. It was in this capacity that Holmes first began to distinguish himself as a university administrator.

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