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A Renaissance Man: William Lofland Dudley

R. S. Patterson
William Lofland Dudley seated in Wesley Hall
Photographic Archives, Vanderbilt University Special Collections

Seen here in his library at Wesley Hall, William Lofland Dudley served as professor and chair of Chemistry and Dean of the Medical School from 1880-1912. Dudley personified the ideal Vanderbilt faculty member dedicated to scholarship, service, and leadership. For that, “He had a wider and a more intimate acquaintance with the students and alumni of Vanderbilt University than any other person; he was loved by all of them…,” and accordingly his name graces Vanderbilt’s football field (1922), the first southern, collegiate football field. This is doubly fitting given his involvement with the SEC’s precursor (the SIAA) as well as his service to the NCAA.

Dudley also worked on a number of industrial science initiatives like cotton refinement, and in the Nashville community he served as director of affairs for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, whose Parthenon proclaimed Nashville as Athens of the New South.