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Robert Sidney Shaw | 1933

The 11th President of (now) Michigan State University - leading to growth and expansion during the Great Depression.

1871-1953 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)



Impact & Accomplishments


Robert Sidney Shaw graduated from Ontario Agricultural College in 1893 and managed his father’s farm for five years before immigrating to the United States in 1898.


He was an assistant professor at Montana State College, and then in 1902, joined the faculty at Michigan Agricultural College. Six years later, Shaw was named dean of agriculture and director of the experiment station. Dean Shaw increased purebred herds and added pedigreed draft horses; he also developed livestock extension programs. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1922.


In 1928, Shaw became president of the institution, renamed Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. President Shaw reorganized and expanded the curriculum and added a graduate school. He retired in 1941.


Did You Know?


The Agricultural Club was founded in April 1920 under the supervision of Robert S. Shaw, dean of the Division of Agriculture. The club was founded to promote agricultural interest at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), and made membership available to students taking the Agricultural Course. The executive board of the Agricultural Club would often work with the dean and professors of agriculture to plan activities for its members as well as for the community. These activities ranged from fundraisers to lectures for personal enrichment.


Built in 1950, Shaw Hall is named for Robert Sidney Shaw, MSU’s 11th president who led the University through the Great Depression.

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