Educator, born in Rutland. Graduated from Middlebury College as Salutatorian in 1849.
In 1854, he was appointed Professor at the Allegheny Institute near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (which later became Avery College) where he gained renown in mathematics and science.
Appointed President of the school in 1856, the first African-American to hold the position of College President.
He left the country for Africa in 1864 (noted as saying that the move was primarily to protect his family from the "racially oppressive society" he found in Pittsburgh at the time) and spent many years at Liberia College, becoming its President shortly before his death in 1889.