Centennial Perspectives

People: Clayton Kohl

Clayton Kohl
Faculty, Administrator

Dr. Clayton C. Kohl was a distinguished member of the Bowling Green State University's faculty from 1920 until his death in 1938, and the first to hold an earned doctorate. He was instrumental in developing course offerings in liberal arts and graduate study which expanded the University's programs beyond that of a training school for teachers.

He was born near Perrysburg, Ohio, on June 15, 1875. In 1901 he received a bachelor of philosophy degree from Ohio State University. He taught school and became a principal and superintendent at Mechanicsburg, Ohio. He was awarded a fellowship at New York University where he earned his doctorate. He headed the Department of Education at Mount Holyoke College and later returned to New York University as a professor of social history. In 1912, Dr. Kohl traveled to Berlin to pursue studies in sociology at Tilly Institute and at the University of Leipzig. In 1915 he returned to Toledo to teach history at Scott High School and then was appointed director of the teacher's training department of the Toledo schools. By 1920, he moved to Bowling Green to head the history and social sciences department at Bowling Green Normal College. When the College became a University in 1936 he became head of the graduate school.

He and his wife Margaret were active in many local civic organizations. Dr. Kohl also was remembered as a notable public speaker. He died November 10, 1938, leaving his wife and two sons, Frederick and John. Following his death, Dr. Kohl’s entire personal library, consisting of nearly 7,000 books, pamphlets, and magazines on nearly every field of knowledge was donated to the University’s library, the largest donation made to the library. In 1939, the first men's residence hall at Bowling Green State University was named Kohl Hall in his honor. 

For further reading in University Archives

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