Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Colleges and universities have historically found that their projected image, character, prestige, and reputation is highly significant to success, even though these illusive indicators of quality may be little more than emotional responses to what people believe, rather than reality. These over-simplifications are based on filtered messages and perceptions, and when they occur, a Gestalt view results that relates to the institution as a whole. One avenue often utilized by institutions of higher education to achieve this institutional image or character is through the president or major spokesman.;One important historic case of the spokesman's role in higher education is that of Philip B. Lindsley, educator and Presbyterian clergyman, who served as president of the University of Nashville from 1825 to 1850. He is, in effect, the nineteenth century precursor of the twentieth century university president. While involved in all aspects of his small and struggling institution, he devoted much of his time and energy addressing the external affairs of the university. He solicited monetary support both from individual citizens of Nashville and from the State of Tennessee for his private nonsectarian institution. He was keenly aware of the power of the press in influencing public policy just as he understood that higher education is not an isolated entity, but instead, one that must fit within the overall needs of society--economically, socially, educationally (at all levels of lower public education), and morally.;The Lindsley of nineteenth century Nashville stood in dramatic relief to most college presidents of the time. But his legacy was not to be in his own university, which closed shortly after his resignation in 1850. Instead, the significance of Philip Lindsley would be in the themes he addressed, through public speeches and published papers, regarding the direction of higher education in Tennessee and beyond.;In this frontier environment, where the impossible was thought only slightly less attainable than the difficult, Philip Lindsley confused the visionary with the real and turned his dreams into illusions. Herein lies his importance as a "type" and "role" for the American college president.;His professional inscription stands separate from the University of Nashville. He became a symbol of educational leadership through the celebration of his philosophies and creeds. After a while and with his repeated oratory, Philip Lindsley's reputation gained increased acceptance merely because of his recognition. Image and institution ceased to be one.



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