A Legacy of Leadership: The Chancellors and Presidents of Syracuse University

Erastus Otis Haven

Term of Office: September 1874 – 1880
Inauguration Date: 15 September 1874

Erastus Otis Haven was originally approached to serve as the University’s first Chancellor, an offer he declined. Ultimately, he became the second person to hold the office. Haven’s educational background was in the natural sciences, though he also held professorships in Latin, English literature, and history and served in several administrative roles. He temporarily left teaching in 1848 to join the Methodist ministry before returning to academia as a professor and administrator. The lingering financial burdens faced by the University during Haven’s tenure left him with few resources to grow the institution, and he therefore directed his energy towards attracting new faculty and strengthening the curriculum. As a result of these efforts, the University’s first schedule of post-graduate courses was published in January 1876. Haven is also credited with improving the University’s relationship with the City of Syracuse. He resigned in 1880 upon being elected as a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Additional information about Haven’s tenure as chancellor can be found in the Archives’ Chancellor Erastus O. Haven Papers.

Portrait of Chancellor Erastus Otis Haven, circa 1875. Syracuse University Portrait Collection, University Archives. Photograph by W.V. Ranger.

Photograph of Chancellor Haven with members of the College of Liberal Arts faculty, 1875. Syracuse University Portrait Collection, University Archives.

From left to right: (front) Reverend Charles W. Bennett, professor of history and logic; John R. French, professor of mathematics; Reverend John J. Brown, professor of chemistry; (rear) Frank Smalley, adjunct professor of geology, zoology, and botany; Chancellor Haven; George F. Comfort, professor of modern languages and aesthetics and dean of the College of Fine Arts; and John H. Durston, adjunct professor of modern languages.