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Benjamin Lea Arnold

Benjamin Lea Arnold was named the second president of Corvallis College in the summer of 1872 by the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and he arrived in Corvallis that September.  During Arnold's twenty-year presidency, one of his greatest achievements was starting the State Agricultural Association with the intent to construct a suitable building for school purposes.

Benjamin L. Arnold was born on October 29, 1839 in North View, Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  He graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1861 and then immediately enlisted in the Confederate Army, though a physical incapacity or impairment forced his discharge after only three months.  After convalescence he began his teaching career, moving between several small colleges in the South, including West Tennessee College in Trenton. He remained at West Tennessee College for four years serving as president, professor and chair of mathematics, and professor of natural science.

Arnold continued as president of Corvallis College until his death.  He had been invited to Salem to appear in the Senate chamber before the Legislature but took ill and was rushed home to Corvallis on a special train.  Arnold died on January 30, 1892 at age 52 and is buried in Masonic Cemetery in Corvallis.

Related Resources: President's Office Records of B.L. Arnold, Board of Regents Records, Board of Trustees Records, Memorabilia Collection.










Sepia photographic portrait of Benjamin Lea Arnold.

Benjamin Lea Arnold, undated.

Black and white photograph of the 1883 Corvallis College faculty.

The 1883 Corvallis College Faculty (E.E. Grimm, Mrs. Ida Callahan, Benjamin Lea Arnold, B.J. Hawthorn, Dr. Joseph Emery, and W.W. Briston), 1883.

Memorial Service program for B. L. Arnold.

Memorial Service program for Benjamin L. Arnold, June 29, 1892.