1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fisk, Wilbur

FISK, WILBUR (1792–1839), American educationist, was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on the 31st of August 1792. He studied at the university of Vermont in 1812–1814, and then entered Brown University, where he graduated in 1815. He studied law, and in 1817 came under the influence of a religious revival in Vermont, where at Lyndon in the following year he was licensed as a local preacher and was admitted to the New England conference. His influence with the conference turned that body from its opposition to higher education as immoral in tendency to the establishment of secondary schools and colleges. Upon the removal in 1824 of the conference’s academy at New Market, New Hampshire, to Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Fisk became one of its agents and trustees, and in 1826 its principal. He drafted the report of the committee on education to the general conference in 1828, at which time he declined the bishopric of the Canada conference. He was first president of Wesleyan University from the opening of the university in 1831 until his death on the 22nd of February 1839 in Middletown, Connecticut. His successful administration of the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham and of Wesleyan University were remarkable. He was an able controversialist, and in the interests of Arminianism attacked both New England Calvinism and Unitarianism; he published in 1837 The Calvinistic Controversy. He also wrote Travels on the Continent of Europe (1838).

See Life and Writings of Wilbur Fisk (New York, 1842), edited by Joseph Holdich, and the biography by George Prentice (Boston, 1890), in the American Religious Leaders Series; also a sketch in Memoirs of Teachers and Educators (New, York, 1861), edited by Henry Barnard.