UI Presidential PortraitsJosiah Little Pickard (1878-1887)

Josiah Little Pickard (1878-1887)

Josiah Little Pickard

Oil on canvas by an unknown artist, n.d.

A leading educator and administrator, Josiah Pickard assumed the University presidency after heading the public school system in Chicago. He also was a devoted student of history, serving as president of the State Historical Society of Iowa for nearly 20 years.

Pickard graduated from Bowdoin College in 1844 and served as principal of Platteville (Wisconsin) Academy until 1860. That year, he was selected Wisconsin’s state superintendent of public instruction, a position he held until 1864, at which time he began a 13-year stint as Chicago’s superintendent of schools.

During Pickard’s presidency at Iowa, two departments—later to become colleges—were added: dental and pharmaceutical. Course offerings in the remaining four departments were expanded, and he advocated raising teaching standards and academic requirements.

From 1881 until 1900 he was president of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and retired from active teaching in 1889.

Pickard was born in Rowley, Massachusetts, on March 17, 1824. He died on March 29, 1914, at age 90.