Oscar J. Craig - 1895-1908

Oscar J. Craig


""The University - it shall prosper.""


  • A.B., Asbury University, 1881
  • A.M., DePauw University, 1884
  • Ph.D., University of Wooster, 1887

Accomplishments as President

Craig served as The University of Montana's first President, managing the University nearly single-handedly.  He had neither business manager nor registrar to assist him.  Oscar Craig also organized the University, collaborated with other Montana educators, and instructed two or three classes each semester.  He established the UM campus and its academic programs with much success despite scarcity of funds.  During his administration, the number of faculty grew from five members to 27.  Craig not only created academic programs, but also established a number of extracurricular activities, such as The Kaimin student newspaper, the Associated Students at The University of Montana, the Shakespeare Club, the Associated Mechanical Engineers, the Silver Cornet Band, two glee clubs, and several Greek organizations.

Background History

Prior to receiving his A.M., Craig served as Superintendent of City Schools in Sullivan, Indiana.  He became a professor at Purdue University in 1883 and taught history and political economy there before helping to establish The University of Montana.

Following the Presidency

Craig retired from the educational field permanently in 1908 due to ill health after serving as President for 13 years.

Oscar J. Craig

Landmarks Erected

  • Venture Center/Science Hall, 1898 (razed in 1983)
  • University Hall (Main Hall), 1898
  • Women's Hall (Math Building), 1902
  • Gymnasium, 1903 (razed in 1965)
  • University Library (Jeannette Rankin Hall), 1908

Programs Established

  • Schools of Engineering and Pharmacy
  • Departments of History, Education, English, Literature, Vocal Expression, Chemistry, Mathematics, Latin and Greek, Modern Languages, Physics and Geology, Biology, Music, and Drawing