John Gummere, 1784-1845
The first in a long line of Gummeres who have left their mark at Haverford, John Gummere was an experienced educator as well as a high ranking mathematician and scientist by the time he joined the founding Board of Managers. Serving as book and instrument selector as well as first instructor, Gummere shaped the early scientific curriculum, which was both theoretical and practical in nature, including the diverse subjects of trigonometry, calculus, astronomy, optics, navigation, and surveying. Early students characterize him as somewhat of an absent-minded professor who tended to fall into periods of profound abstraction while supervising the classroom, but the intellect he demonstrated as a lecturer commanded their deepest admiration and respect. He was known on campus as “Agathos,” or the “good man.” Gummere was appointed Superintendant in 1835.