Benjamin Ide Wheeler was the President
of the University of California
between 1899-1919. During his twenty year lead, the University grew tremendously in its reputation, especially on the East Coast
. The student
body tripled, and the campus attracted the nation's finest professors
to the West Coast
. Wheeler was also instrumental in the growth of the University of California
to other campuses, such as UCLA
Many of UC Berkeley's Neoclassical-style buildings planned by John Galen Howard, including the Greek Theatre and Doe Libary, in addition to Sather Tower (The Campanile) were erected under the eye of President Wheeler. Wheeler Hall, named after the president, was erected after he retired from office.
Wheeler was born in Randolph, Massachusetts, on July 15, 1854, and received his B.A. in 1875 from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was valedictorian and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, in addition to being active in baseball and crew. Wheeler was also became a brother of Alpha Delta Phi at the Brunonian Chapter.
Continuing at Brown, Wheeler earned his M.A. while teaching high school to put himself through school. He would travel to Germany to receive his Ph.D in Classics from the University of Heidelberg. With his doctorate degree in hand, Wheeler taught Greek and Comparative Philosophy at Harvard and Cornell before accepting his the helm of the University of California. He was invited to serve as a Professor of Greek language and literature in Athens, Greece in 1895-1896; during his stay, he served as a judge at the revival of the Olympic Games.
During his term at Cal, Wheeler earned two more Ph.Ds in Law and Letters, and wrote many volumes concerned with Greek history and Philosophy. He was also an honorary member of the Skull & Keys Men's Honor society.
Wheeler was also instrumental in the founding of the California Chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi, enlising the help of notable Alpha Delta Phi alumni such as President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, an extensive collection of books that once belonged to Wheeler stands in the Alpha Delta Phi house of the California Chapter as the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Memorial Library.