Thatcher, Roscoe

President, Massachusetts State College: 1927-1932

Roscoe W. Thatcher Roscoe W. Thatcher and cabinet, ca.1932

Roscoe Thatcher was the last president of Massachusetts Agricultural College and the first when the institution changed its name to Massachusetts State College in 1931.

Thatcher was born and raised on a farm, and specialized in agronomic research. Before coming to Amherst, Thatcher served as director of the agricultural station for the state of Washington. He went to the University of Minnesota in 1913, serving until 1917 as professor of plant chemistry. In 1917, he was appointed dean of the School of Agriculture and director of the Minnesota Experiment Station. In 1921 he became director of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva.

In 1927 Thatcher accepted the Presidency of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Under his leadership the two year program in practical agricultural was expanded to become the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. The college achieved a record enrollment in 1929 of 894 students, 60 of whom were women. Thatcher oversaw curricular reform, orienting vocational training toward citizenship education. The student health service also started during his tenure.

Thatcher resigned due to ill health in 1933. Following a period of rest, Thatcher returned to the College in April 1933 as a research professor of agricultural chemistry. He died in his laboratory on December 6, 1933.

Thatcher House, a dormitory in the Northeast Residential Area is named in his honor.


  • Cary, H. (1962). The University of Massachusetts: A History of 100 Years. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.
t/thatcher_roscoe.txt · Last modified: 2024/07/12 13:17 by awakefield
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