International Students at Dickinson College
Snapshots I

Students of the First Thirty Years:
profiles compiled and presented by
Daniel J. Fleischmann


John Hemphill
Perhaps Dickinson's first "foreign" student, he was born in Derry in Northern Ireland in 1761, and came to America at the close of the Revolutionary War.1  A graduate in 1792, Hemphill settled in South Carolina, where he was a pastor.

Francis and James Pringle
These two brothers came to America at the end of the eighteenth century. They were probably the first foreign brothers to come to Dickinson - James was born in 1788, Francis in 1789, though both graduated from Dickinson in the same year, 1808.  Both were pastors, licensed by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1812.2  Francis moved to Ohio, James to North Carolina.  Francis fell ill and in November of 1817, went to be with his brother in North Carolina.  Francis died in March of 1818, James would die seven months later having laid sick in the same bed in which his brother died.  James, once certain of his coming end, requested he spend his last moments alone, as he said a week before his death "I would wish to converse with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.- "my whole dependence is on
Christ.  I look to him for salvation."3

1.  It is not known the exact date that he came to America, but since he came at the close of the Revolutionary War, he must have come to America at least less than ten years before entering Dickinson, which would be 1789, ten years earlier was 1779,  not yet near the close of the Revolutionary War. 1905 Dickinson College Alumni Record.
2.  Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit,  Vol. IX. p.  66-67. According to the Annals of the American Pulpit, it can be speculated that the Pringle family moved to America shortly before 1800.  Their father apparently took a job as a pastor in Pennsylvania in that year, while a year before he took a job in New York, apparently shortly after arriving their from Europe.  It could be assumed that they came in 1798 or 1799.
3.Harris, E.,  "The Christian's" Remembrances:  A Sermon delivered in the Middle Creek Church, Mecklenburg, N.C., p. 91


Claudius Berard
Perhaps the College's first foreign student not from the British Isles, he was born in the French port of Bordeaux and came to America in 1807.  He left the student body at Dickinson in 1812, as a non-graduate, but not the College.   Even though he did not graduate, he was a professor of modern languages at Dickinson until 1815.  He then went on to West Point to teach French, for the next 33 years, until he died in 1848.
Claudius Berard left a brief historical record of his time at Dickinson College.
As noted, while a student in 1810 he was appointed "Teacher of the French, Spanish & Italian languages."1
on November 10th, 1810. Apparently, he was teaching and taking a few courses simultaneously, until 1812, when he left, a non-graduate.2  He returned in 1814, and on September 28th, 1814, he was elected to the faculty as a Professor of Modern Languages.  He may have been the first professor of Modern Languages at Dickinson, as Sellers claims on  Berard held "the first foothold of modern languages in the curriculum."3
In 1810 this advertisement was proposed to be published about Berard:
                       DICKINSON COLLEGE.  The trustees anxious that this now prosperous institution should further merit public
                                     encouragement have engaged a gentleman of character and talents to teach the French language.  He has also
                                     some knowledge of the Spanish.  This acquisition, long wished for . . . now forms a compleat system of education
                                     at this Seminary.  The next session of the College will commence on the first of June ensuing.4

1.  Sellers, Charles Coleman,  Dickinson College:  A History.  Middletown, CT:  Wesleyan University Press, 1973.
2.  Morgan, James Henry,  Dickinson College 1783-1933.  Harrisburg, PA:  Mt. Pleasant Press, 1933, page 198 It can be speculated that he did not graduate, because he was teaching, and took a few courses, but not receiving enough credits to graduate.
3.  Sellers, page 144 The author claims this admits he could not fully verify this, though he could find no previous record of Modern languages being taught at Dickinson.
4.  Morgan, page.198  This advertisement was proposed by the President of the Board to the President of the College, Benjamin Rush, May 7, 1810. 

For more information on Claudius Berard and the international curriculum click here:  IC

Snapshots II