William H. Zimmerman, an
inventor and scholar, was hired in 1873 to rebuild the
College’s science lab and serve as professor of natural
philosophy. The College principal, William J.
Rivers, disagreed with Zimmerman’s “modern” views about
geology, anthropology, and the theory of evolution.
Rivers asked the Board to investigate any teaching that
might lead students to “skepticism” and in his 1880
commencement address warned against “anti-religious”
philosophies. Two years later the Board asked for