John Hosea Washburn was appointed principal of the State Agricultural School, which opened in 1890 with 26 students, 24 men and two women. Washburn successfully wrested the funding appropriation of land-grant status away from Brown University. He established abbreviated agricultural courses for Rhode Island farmers and initiated numerous studies including those on soil analysis, grasses, and apple production.
When the School changed its name in 1892, Washburn became president of Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Unfortunately, Washburn’s undiplomatic manner led to his being asked to resign in August of 1902.
“Specialized knowledge should be accompanied by a knowledge of history and literature to help a graduate understand the thoughts of others, as well as communicate his own valuable experience and observations for the benefit of others.”
John Hosea Washburn
Farmer’s Institute address, Feb. 1890