William Vernon Lovitt

Years at the college:  1918 - 1950

B.A. Nebraska 1903
M.Ph. Chicago 1907
Ph.D. Chicago 1914


William Lovitt (1881-1972) was born in Whiting, Kansas, and earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska. After graduate work at the University of Chicago, Lovitt taught at the University of Nebraska, the University of Washington, Harvard University, and Purdue University before arriving in Colorado Springs. Lovitt and Sisam arrived the same year (1918) to take the place of Florian Cajori.

Lovitt lived somewhat in the shadow of Charles Sisam who was the head of the department (they apparently never spoke), but in the middle of his long career at Colorado College, he became the Dean of Men (1928-1938). Views were mixed on his effectiveness; one of the college historians, Juan Reid, refers to his "arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters." He attracted considerable student opprobrium through his dismissal of two editors of The Tiger (the CC student newspaper). One he removed when he disapproved of a one-line joke printed in The Tiger, the other when the editor printed a criticism of Lovitt's judgement during the furor over a philosophy professor's alleged agnosticism. A later president of the college recalled that fraternity students on campus trained their dog to bark at Lovitt each time he passed by.

One student from his later years at the college remembers him as a clear but dry teacher who locked the classroom doors promptly at class time and refused to let the stragglers in. He maintained an active scholarly life publishing many papers and five books:

Lovitt became chair of the mathematics department briefly when Sisam left in 1948. After retiring from the college in 1950, he moved to San Mateo, California where he died in 1972.


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