The first civil engineering graduates pursued a variety of careers. In addition to the obvious careers in railroad or bridge engineering, some were lawyers, some doctors, and a couple were even men of the cloth. Fletcher Hawley was one of those men. Fletcher was a career student for a while, attending first RPI (1835-1837) then Union College (1838-1840) and finally the Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in New York (1840-1843). He was ordained as a deacon in 1843, then as a priest in 1845.
Rev. Hawley’s first rectorship was at St. John’s Church in Christiansted, Santa Cruz (now St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands). He is credited with helping to quell an insurrection by slaves until soldiers arrived from St. Thomas to take control. He was appointed first crown member of the colonial council of the Danish West Indies, by the King of Denmark. Hawley’s civil engineering education
did not go to waste while he was a priest. He designed and supervised the building of a new church in Christiansted that seated over 1200 people. St. John’s Anglican Church still stands today.
He also built St. James Episcopal Church in Danbury, CT and Grace Church in Stafford Springs, CT. Rev. Hawley served as rector at Trinity Church in New Orleans, Trinity Church in Chicago and finally at St. Paul’s Church in Brainerd, MN.