Skip to Main Content

Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

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

Matthew Simpson

Matthew SimpsonHe was certified to practice medicine, but Matthew Simpson (1811-1884) did so for only eight months before joining the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1839 Simpson officially became the first president of Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University), serving the institution for nine years. Named Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1852, the "rabid" abolitionist was a spiritual/political advisor to President Abraham Lincoln and delivered the eulogies at Lincoln's White House and Springfield, Illinois, funeral services. Simpson also became the confidant of Presidents Grant and Hays, and was later a crusader for laymen's and women's rights.