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Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

This guide includes historical information about the people behind DePauw University's building names.

Emison Family

                                                                                                     William Weston Clarke Emison
                                                                                         June 15, 1804 – March 7, 1881

Emison FamilyWilliam Weston Clarke Emison was the first Emison to begin a long and illustrious legacy of Emison family commitment to DePauw. Though Emison never attended DePauw, he was a strong source of support during the university’s early years. His sons, Thomas Posey Emison and John Wesley Emison, Sr., both attended the university, then called Indiana Asbury. John Wesley Emison, Sr. became the first Emison to serve on the board of trustees. Four generations of Emisons have since served on the board, so that for over half of DePauw’s history an Emison has served on the board. And over forty members of the Emison family have attended DePauw.

Devoted to his Methodist faith, William Weston Clarke Emison was a member of The Methodist Episcopal Church of Bruceville, Indiana. He maintained a milling and farm business, housing a tannery, distillery, and sawmill. During his life in Bruceville, Emison made the acquaintance of the young Abraham Lincoln and became a strong supporter of him during the Civil War.

Carnegie Library, Emison Art Center, Admissions BuildingThe Emison Building and Museum is a testament to the Emison legacy. Originally the Carnegie Library and later the Art Center, the building was renamed to honor the Emison family in 1986. The building was rededicated in 2005 with Emison descendant James Wade Emison III ’52 leading the building’s recent $7 million dollar renovations.