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McKendree Hypes Chamberlin
The true story of a great man from a small American town.
McKendree Hypes Chamberlin was born in Lebanon, Illinois in 1838, a town of several hundred souls.
His lifelong dream was to see that McKendree College a small college in his home town was properly endowed.
To fulfill his dream, Dr. Chamberlin embarked on a varied and colorful career. After his graduation from McKendree, and a masters degree from Harvard, he became a lawyer in Kansas City, and then an innovative financial advisor to the nation’s growing railroads, next becoming secretary of the Illinois Railway Commission. He developed mines in the far west, fleeing from the Apache Indians in Black Hills, and finally returning to Lebanon where he became President of McKendree College, saving it from the sheriff's hammer.
In a speech given at McKendree in1894, Dr. Chamberlin was both inspirational and prophetic: “Stanford University, great as it is, fails to have what is found in this Institution of yours—a record. … When Stanford is twenty-five years old, McKendree will be pressing hard toward the mark of a century. It [McKendree] was founded back yonder in the same year the railway system was born; before Morse had unlocked the secret whereby the world is now filled with electrified intelligence … What Harvard is to the East, McKendree should be to the west … In this electrical era, new modes of thought, as well as new modes of motion, are stimulating the minds of the public … Edison's harnessed horses of lightning, before the next decade, will place your College within 15 minutes' ride of St. Louis, the ruling queen of the great Father of Waters, and Lebanon will be its educational suburb.