Mid-Shore History: William Smith’s Washington College with Colin Dickson

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It is a common mistake to assume that George Washington was the founder of Washington College in 1782. That was not the case, but the future first president of the United States did agree to allow the use his name for an entirely new liberal arts college in Chestertown as well as hard cash as a donation, which was hard to come by after the Revolution.

No, that honor goes to William Smith, a brilliant academic who had helped start the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) with Ben Franklin and became its first leader. Forced to leave Philly due to his loyalist politics, he came to Chestertown at the request of the town, to start a revolutionary new form of undergraduate education.

In the fall of each year, as Washington College starts its new semester, we like to share an interview with former WC professor Colin Dickson in 2012 about William Smith and how extraordinarily lucky Chestertown was to have such a visionary and innovator in American education start their new school.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length. For more information about Washington College please go here

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