Thomas Huston Macbride (1914-1916)

Thomas Huston Macbride

Oil on canvas by Charles Atherton Cumming, n.d.

Though he was president of the University for only two years, Thomas Macbride served the campus for more than a half-century as a scholar, conservationist, and administrator. The building that bears his name was constructed in 1904 as the Hall of Natural Science and was renamed in his honor in 1934.

Macbride received the Bachelor of Arts and, in 1873, the Master of Arts degrees from Monmouth College in Illinois. He joined the University of Iowa in 1878, becoming a professor of botany in 1883. In 1902, he was made head of the Department of Botany and served as secretary of the faculty from 1887 to 1893.

His love for the outdoors and its preservation inspired him to become the first president of the Iowa Park and Forestry Association, organized in 1901. He founded the Lakeside Laboratory at Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa and promoted the development of state parks, including the lake and park that bear his name in Johnson County, north of Iowa City.

Macbride was born in Rogersville, Tennessee, on July 31, 1848. He married Harriet Diffenderfer on December 31, 1875, and they had four children. He died in Seattle, Washington, on March 27, 1934, at age 85.