Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Fay, Charles Ernest, 1846-1931
|Charles Ernest Fay (1846-1931), A1868, H1928, Wade Professor of Modern Languages at Tufts for more than sixty years, was a internationally known mountain climber and was honored by the Canadian government by having a one of the Canadian Rockies' peaks named for him. Fay was affectionately known as "Tard" to his colleagues and six decades of Tufts students.|
Fay was born March 10, 1846, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where his father was the pastor of a Universalist Church. Following the death of his mother when he was four years old, Fay was sent to a boarding school in New York. From ages eleven to sixteen, Fay attended high schools in various New England states. After graduating from Providence High School, Fay was offered a teaching position in the Nashua, New Hampshire, school district, beginning his long career as an educator. He resumed his own studies in 1865 by entering Tufts College.
After completing his courses in three years, Fay was made an instructor of Mathematics following his graduation in 1868.The following year, he was offered a full professorship in French and German, which included a full year in Europe for travel and study. While in Italy, he met Mary W. Lincoln of Boston. They were married before Fay returned to Medford to take up his post as Wade Professor of Modern Languages. He held the professorship for sixty years, retiring in 1928.He had also served as dean of the Graduate School. Tufts bestowed an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Fay in conjunction with his retirement.
Fay had served the higher educational community as president of the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools andthe New England Modern Language Association. He was also an Associate Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Fay was more than fifty years old when he took up mountain climbing. He became internationally known for his exploits, ascending many Canadian Rockies' peaks. In his honor, the Canadian government named a peak Fay Mountain, in his honor. He was a charter member and past president of both the Appalachian Mountainand the American Alpine Clubs, along with holding honorary memberships in several European Alpine organizations.
Fay died at the Phillips House in Boston, Massachusetts, following surgery for appendicitis on January 25, 1931. He is memorialized by a bronze bas relief in Goddard Chapel.