Professional Background: Professor of mathematics and biology at Indiana University (1883–1891), professor of mathematics at Stanford University (1891–1893)

Joseph Swain was IU’s first Indiana-born president. A native of Pendleton, Indiana, he attended IU as an undergraduate and graduate student, and began his teaching career in IU’s departments of mathematics and biology.

He left his professorship at IU in 1891 to follow departing IU president David Starr Jordan to Stanford University. In 1893 he returned to IU as president, a position he held for nine years.

Swain was a member of the Quaker Church, and, though successful at IU, he ultimately accepted the invitation to become president of Swarthmore College in 1902. He retired from Swarthmore in 1921 as president emeritus and died six years later.