Saturday, June 28, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 29

Martin Ruter Resigns Presidency of Allegheny College June 1837

Southwestern University students and alumni are familiar the dormitory named in honor of Martin Ruter, the pioneer Texas Methodist educator. Fewer Texans are aware that a Ruter Hall also exists at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. It was from the presidency of that college that Martin Ruter came to Texas.

Ruter’s presidency of Allegheny College began in 1833 when the college became affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Ruter served ably as president for four years and in June, 1837 resigned so he could head the Texas mission.

He summarized his tenure in a letter published in the Pittsburgh Christian Advocate, July 13, 1837, as follows

It is now four years since the Conference entered into an agreement with the
trustees to patronize the college and place it as far as practicable in successful operation, taking measures for securing funds with a view to its permanent prosperity. The result of this agreement is apparent in the success that has followed. Perhaps no seminary of learning has advanced more rapidly than this has since that time. I disregarded my own inclinations in 1833 and accepted the appointment as president. I have done the utmost in my power to secure the success of the institution, keeping in view the entire interests of all its
departments and the welfare of the students. But it has been my uniform intention to labor in a different sphere of usefulness whenever I could retire from the college without any injury to its interests. Believing I can now do this, and finding a door opened for me in other labors probably as useful to the Church as any I could.

In July the student body assembled for farewells, and the Ruter family pushed their flatboat away from the landing on French Creek to begin the missionary journey. He never saw Allegheny College again, but his memory is preserved in the name of a building. One believes that Ruter would be very pleased about the Ruter Hall at Allegheny College. The Department of Classical and Modern Languages is housed in Ruter Hall. Martin Ruter was a very accomplished linguist.


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