Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


McCollester, Lee S., 1859-1943


Lee Sullivan McCollester, (1859-1943) A1881, D1884, D1899, third dean of the Crane Theological School (1912-1933), was an dedicated alumnus, professor, and administrator, who was considered the "Mr. Chips" of Tufts College.

Born in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, June 5, 1859, McCollester began his formal education at Melrose Seminary in Brattleboro, Vermont. He first attended Butchel College in Akron Ohio, where his father, a clergyman, was president of the school. However, he transferred to Tufts at the end of his sophomore year. McCollester received a B.A. (1881) and a S.T. B. (1884) from the college and the Divinity School, respectively. He had studied under Charles H. Leonard, the first dean of the Divinity School. During his last year of theological study, McCollester worked as minister of the Claremont, New Hampshire, Univeralist Church. During that time he was briefly married to Lillian A. Wright, who died in 1884.

McCollester was recruited by the Church of Our Father in Detroit, Michigan, in 1889. He served as the urban church's pastor for twenty-four years. There, he established a life-long friendship with Henry Ford. Tufts conferred an honorary S.T.D. (Doctorate of Sacred Theology) on McCollester in 1899.He returned to Tufts, accepting the deanship of the Crane School of Theology, in 1912. At the time of his arrival, there were only four divinity students. In order to secure his services, the college agreed to several conditions pertaining to the reorganization of the school and McCollester's personal salary. Tufts was unable to meet all of McCollester's financial demand, requiring A. B. Fletcher, as a result of his personal interest in the theological school, to guarantee a personal gift of $1000 a year to the new dean until the funds could be raised from other resources. McCollester revitalized the theological school, altering the curriculum to focus more on practical usage, and increasing the enrollment under his leadership. McCollester was made dean emeritus upon his retirement in 1932. His second wife, Lizzie S. Parker, whom he married in 1889, was descended from one of the first students to enter the college. She died in 1928.The McCollesters had three children, including Parker McCollester, A1911, who was a life trustee of the college. McCollester retained the title of Professor of Religious Literature and continued to serve as the college's chaplain (1919-1940). He last act at the college, in early December 1943,was reading from Dickens' Christmas Carol for a Tufts College Women's Club gathering in Goddard Chapel.

From 1906 to 1923, McCollester was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Universalist General Convention, chairing the board for twelve years and serving as president of the Convention for four years.

He was also president of the Michigan Universalist Convention from 1895 to 1905 and librarian and president of the Universalist Historical Library. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Phi Beta Kappa.

McCollester, after being dissuaded from his original idea of building a home on the Hill next to the theology school, resided at 48 Professors Row, until retiring to Claremont, New Hampshire. He died December 26, 1943, following a heart attack, in Stamford, Connecticut.

McCollester House, located on Edison Avenue, was named in his honor.

Source: VF; LOH1, 334-336; SHC

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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