The Philosophy of Despair by David Starr Jordan David Starr Jordan (January 19, 1851 - September 19, 1931) was a leading ichthyologist, educator, eugenicist, and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and was the founding president of Stanford University. He was inspired by Louis Agassiz to pursue his studies in ichthyology. He taught natural history courses at several small Midwestern colleges before joining the natural history faculty of Indiana University Bloomington in 1879. In 1885, he was named President of Indiana University, becoming the nation's youngest university president at age 34 and the first Indiana University president that was not an ordained minister. He improved the university's finances and public image, doubled its enrollment, and instituted an elective system which, like Cornell's, was an early application of the modern liberal arts curriculum. In March 1891, he was approached by Leland and Jane Stanford, who offered him the presidency of their about-to-open California university, Leland Stanford Junior University. He had been recommended to the Stanfords by the president of Cornell, Andrew White. His educational philosophy was a good fit with the Stanfords' vision of a non-sectarian, co-educational school with a liberal arts curriculum, and after consulting his wife he accepted the offer on the spot. Jordan arrived at Stanford in June 1891 and immediately set about recruiting faculty for the university's planned September opening. With such a short time frame he drew heavily on his own acquaintance in academia; of the fifteen founding professors, most came either from Indiana University or his alma mater Cornell. During his first year at Stanford he was instrumental in establishing the university's Hopkins Marine Station. He served Stanford as president until 1913 and then chancellor until his retirement in 1916. While chancellor, he was also elected president of the National Education Association.