Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, reproduction LC-DIG-ggbain-39174
Raymond A. Pearson (1873-1939) was president from 1926 to 1935.
A native of Indiana, Pearson received an M.S. from Cornell in 1894. Upon graduation, he became assistant chief of the Dairy Division of the United States Department of Agriculture in 1895. In 1903, he became a professor of dairy industry at Cornell. Five years later, he went to work for the State of New York as Commissioner of Agriculture, where he remained until he was selected as the president of Iowa State College, now Iowa State University, a position he held from 1912 to 1926. While at Iowa State College, he served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture during the war emergency period of 1917-1918.
His main contribution to Maryland was a greatly expanded physical plant, both in Baltimore and College Park, with 13 buildings added, as well as additional acreage. Also during his presidency, the Law School and the Dental School obtained "A" ratings.
The Board of Regents (formerly the Board of Trustees) requested Pearson's resignation because of personality conflicts, his apparent over-emphasis on construction projects, accusations of neglect of the faculty, and two widely-publicized court cases. In October 1932, Pearson announced the suspension of two students, Ennis Coale and Wayne Lee, because they had refused to attend compulsory military training courses. In December, both students went to court seeking reinstatement, but, in June 1933 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university. Two years later, Donald G. Murray, an African American graduate of Amherst College, sought admission to the University of Maryland Law School, but he was rejected because of his race. Murray appealed unsuccessfully to the Board of Regents before taking his case to court. The Circuit Court ordered Pearson to admit Murray. The University appealed, but in January 1936, the Maryland Court of Appeals confirmed the Circuit Court's decision.
After Pearson left the University of Maryland, he served in the Federal Farm Security Administration until his death in 1939.
Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd, President, 1935-1954