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Daniel Boardman Purinton (February 15, 1850-November 27, 1933) was a faculty member and president of West Virginia University. He was born in Preston County. He received a B.A. degree from WVU in 1873, taught in WVU’s Preparatory Department (1873–78), and earned his M.A. degree in 1876. He later received a doctorate from the University of Nashville. He married Florence A. Lyon in 1876.

A Republican and Baptist, Purinton taught logic (1878–80), mathematics (1880–84), metaphysics (1885–89), and vocal music (1873–89) at WVU. He became vice-president and acting president of WVU in 1881. Purinton was an early and strong supporter of co-education and made the motion, on June 17, 1889, that WVU should admit women as degree candidates. His sister-in-law, Harriet Lyon, was the first woman to graduate from the school.

Purinton left WVU in 1890 to become president of Denison College. He returned to become president of WVU in 1901. He served as both president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences until July 31, 1911.

Purinton wrote the book Christian Theism (1889), and about 40 songs, including in 1877 the words and music for what is probably the original version of the West Virginia state song, “The West Virginia Hills.” He was president of the West Virginia Baptist General Assembly and the Ohio Baptist Education Society.

Daniel Boardman Purinton died in Morgantown.

This Article was written by Barbara J. Howe

Last Revised on June 12, 2017


Core, Earl L. The Monongalia Story 5 vols. Parsons: McClain, 1974-84.

West Virginia University. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 1982.

Cite This Article

Howe, Barbara J. "Daniel Boardman Purinton." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 12 June 2017. Web. 30 June 2022.


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