Presidents of the College




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Rev. Bernard Iddings Bell was the last administrator to carry the title of warden. As the college's 7th president, he took the position in 1919 and resigned in 1933. His vision and energy permanently altered the physical and social geography of the College. Under his tenure, many buildings were constructed, science was emphasized, a nationally renowned athletics department was created, and legions of students were deeply impacted by his educational philosophy and personal charisma. Under Dr. Bell, the College sought to “give men four years of classical and cultural education as a background for life, and as a basis for graduate specialization or professional study.” It was through his leadership, as the College faced one of its many financial crises, that St. Stephen’s merged with Columbia University in 1928. Bell resigned in 1933 after his pleas for the closure of the college were ignored.

During his time as president of St. Stephen's College Bell preached a sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine titled "The Church's Relation to Capital and Labour." What follows is an excerpt. "In other words, the Church is called upon to preach, in squareness and love, the principles of CHRIST as the sine qua non for humanity, to whatever economic order may happen to be in power. Changes and developments will come according to the operation of the inevitable economic laws of GOD. The function of religion is to seek ever to spiritualize, humanize, fraternize that which is, fearing not that which is to come, nor seeking fondly to preserve that which can, because of the operation of economic laws, no longer be.”



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