Professional Background: Professor of natural sciences at Hanover College (1871–1879), professor of botany at Wabash College (1879–1891)

Born in China to American missionary parents, John Merle Coulter was a three-time graduate of Hanover College. He accepted the position of president and professor of botany at Indiana University in 1891.

Perhaps the heaviest responsibility during his administration was replacing the faculty members that followed past-president David Starr Jordan to Stanford University. Coulter was also instrumental in continuing IU’s extension work, sending lecturers to the larger cities in the state.

In 1893, Coulter resigned to accept the presidency of Lake Forest University, a position he held until 1896 when he accepted the appointment of professor and head of the botany department at the University of Chicago.

He died December 23, 1928.