The First C.E.’s – Ezra Carr

The Class of 1838 included some rather notable alumni.  Two of them are in the Alumni Hall of Fame and several more are worthy candidates.  When I read over the accomplishments of these alums, I’m amazed at their ambition.  Ezra Carr, for instance, had an astounding resume.  Shortly after obtaining his civil engineering degree at Rensselaer, Ezra completed a medical degree at Castleton Medical College in Vermont.  He stayed at Castleton to teach chemistry and pharmacy.  He also held a teaching position at the Philadelphia Medical College at the same time and apparently alternated between the two schools.  We’re talking about colleges that were over 300 miles apart!

Ezra didn’t hop a plane to go back and forth in the 1840s, either.  A few years later, he was professor of chemistry (arts and agriculture) at Albany and the University of Vermont — at the same time.  That trip was only 150 miles, but imagine the travel logistics of a slow train or horse driven vehicle.

Ezra accepted the chair of the chemistry and natural history department at the University of Wisconsin in 1856 and he taught at the Rush Medical College in Chicago — at the same time.

After taking a one year sabbatical in California, Ezra Carr decided to relocate there in 1869.  He was chair of the medical chemistry department at Toland Medical College in San Francisco and professor of agricultural chemistry at the University of California — at the same time.  Do you see the theme here?  The guy must have been a workaholic!  He was also politically and professionally active.  He served in the state legislature of Vermont, the Vermont State Board of Education and was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.  He was a founding member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the Wisconsin State Medical Society.

Ezra’s health took a toll after many years of hard work (and presumably all that commuting!).  He retired to a farm in Pasadena, CA in 1877 and lived there until his death in 1894.

Share
This entry was posted in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *