Merritt Caldwell Fernald was the first faculty member, hired from his position at Foxcroft Academy to be a professor of mathematics. He was also the second president of the University of Maine, 1879–93, setting the tone of the university. He was a central figure during the first half of the century. When he retired in 1908, the university gave him an honorary LL.D. He continued as an emeritus professor of philosophy until 1916.