​Eliphalet Nott Potter
( 1836 - 1901 )

Eliphalet Nott Potter was born at Union College on September 20, 1836, Where his father Rev. Alonzo Potter served as Professor of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy.  His mother was Sarah Maria Nott Potter, the only daughter of President Eliphalet Nott.

Potter did not enter Union College until he was twenty-one, choosing instead to study briefly at two other schools, the Protestant Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia, PA., and St. James's College, MD..  He then voyaged around the world in sailing vessels,  An insouciant student, Potter was granted a degree at the 1861 Commencement after completing only one third of the requirements.

The following year, after graduating from the Berkeley Divinity School, he was ordained deacon by his father and assigned to minister in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  At the same time, Potter was appointed as the first instructor of the newly founded Lehigh University, teaching ethics and philosophy.  He served during the Civil War as chaplain under his brother, General Robert B. Potter.

President Eliphalet Nott Potter - 1876

Potter returned to upstate New York in 1869 to the associate rector of St. Paul's Church in Troy until 1871.  He married Helen Wolf Fuller on April 28, 1870, the daughter of Joseph Wiltsie and Mary (Wolf) Fuller.  They had five children Mary Josepha Smith (Potter), Eliphalet Nott Potter Jr., Maria Nott Sturges (Potter) Joseph Wiltsie Fuller Potter, Helen Fuller Barclay (Potter).

In 1871 he was selected as Union College's seventh president.  He was inaugurated June 26, 1872.  The early years of his presidency were marked by physical development of the campus successful fund raising and curricular changes.  Potter's social connections allowed him to be quite a successful fund raiser for the College.  There were significant physical developments to the campus during Potter's presidential tenure, including Becker Hall, the Administration building, Washburn Hall, and the completion of the Nott Memorial.  Much of the funds needed for these projects came from wealthy alumni and Potter's own family.  He also raised money for scholarships and recruited Southern students in an effort to raise the enrollment which had declined since Eliphalet Nott's death.

Early in his presidency, Potter enjoyed the support of the student body, particularly after he had a gymnasium erected.  Later, he supported the launching of the Concordiensis (college newspaper) and (Garnet yearbook) in 1877.

He was given a honorary degree of D.D. by Union College in 1869, and by Columbia in 1871. He was given L.L.D. b Williams College in 1880; D.C.L. by Trinity College, and by the University of the South in 1889, and L.H.D. by Stephens College in 1895.

He resigned the presidency of the university in August 1, 1884, being made it chancellor,  On January 16, 1884, Hobart College offered Potter it's presidency, and he accepted.  Potter would remain at Hobart until 1897.  He was also president of the Cosmopolitan University (a correspondence University), 1892-1901.

He is the author of Three Witnesses to the Truth of Religion Memoirs of Dr. Tayler Lewis and Dr. Isaac Jackson; and Washington, A Model in his Library and Life.  He dies in the city of Mexico, February 6, 1901.

Potter Family History