Oscar Clute (b. 1837 d. 1902)
State Agricultural College
Oscar Clute was born near Albany, New York, March 1, 1837 of Dutch descent. Clute taught high school from 1855 to 1859, at which time he entered the sophomore class at the State Agricultural College. He graduated in 1862. He served briefly in Howlett's Engineers during the Civil War. In 1864 he married Mary Merrylees, the sister of Mrs. T.C. Abbot. They had six children: William Merrylees, Oscar Clark, Lucy Merrylees, Katherine Spencer, Edward Hale and Marie Morrill.
Following his graduation, Clute taught mathematics at the State Agricultural College for four years, except for the period of military service with Howlett's Engineers. He received an M.S. degree in 1864. In 1866 he entered Meadville Theological Seminary, graduating in 1867. From 1868-1889 Clute served as a minister in the First Unitarian Church of New Jersey, Iowa and California.
Clute was selected president of the State Agricultural College in 1889 and remained for four years. His tenure, however, was marked by numerous crises including student unrest, large scale faculty turnover and a populist revolt. He left in 1893 to take over the presidency of Florida Agricultural College, now the University of Florida. In the same year, he also received an LL.D from the State Agricultural College.
Following his retirement from Florida Agricultural College in 1897, Clute moved to Pomona, California, where he returned to the ministry. He died near Los Angeles, California, on January 27, 1902.