Minor Meyers

story & photo
by Chris Annino

Former Stonington resident and Ohio native Minor Myers Jr, was a multi-talented individual who utilized his gifts for good causes. Minor was a skilled author, scholar, and composer who wrote eight books and an original musical play titled “The College Inn Revisited.” The play focused on the 1920’s jazz movement in Chicago and the role the city played as a launching ground for Broadway theatre in New York. He served on numerous the boards of directors, including The Lyman Allyn Museum at Conn College in New London.

Minor had many interests such as music history, furniture, and higher education during the American colonial period, and history of Revolutionary France.  He was the 17th president of Illinois Wesleyan University for 14 years and was arguably one of the greatest presidents in Illinois Wesleyan University history. During his reign at the school, student enrollment increased, and he raised $137 million dollars for the college. Minor also helped with renovation and construction of many buildings on campus. He was viewed as a visionary for expanding many of the major and minor programs at the university, such as American studies, anthropology, biochemistry, cognitive science, women’s studies, environmental studies, Greek and Roman studies, international business, Russian, and Japanese studies.

“He was viewed by his family, friends, students and faculty as an individual who cared about everyone and never asked anything in return,” said his son Joffre, administrative assistant, Film Forum, New York City.

Minor Myers was best known for his philosophical words of wisdom about life after school at each graduation ceremony, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

The quote gained such acclaim that it shares its place on tote bags and coffee mugs among world famous individuals such as John F. Kennedy, and Robert Frost through a company called www.quotablecards.com.

“He would always make time for everyone. He always kept in touch with friends, family and students. Despite himself being very interesting, he would always be very interested in other people and their interests,” said his wife Ellen.

Several years ago Minor Myers passed away from a battle with cancer. It is unfortunate that Minor isn’t able to witness all of what he helped create.

In honor of Minor Myers, Wesleyan University in Illinois  will name a green-friendly admissions and career counseling building after him this fall.

2 thoughts on “Minor Meyers

  1. virginia dart greene hales

    I never met Minor Meyers, however, my sister Nancy Greene Glass sat next to him at a Harvard alumni dinner in Chicago in about 1995. As they conversed, the Arts & Crafts architectural firm of Greene & Greene came up and Nancy said that Henry Mather Greene was her grandfather to which Minor said, “Oh, you must be related to my dear friend from Yale days, Thomas Casey Greene!” My sister said she knew of no Greene relatives in Rhode Island, but Minor said he would write Tom which he did, and he replied to my sister that indeed we were descended from that Greene family, which had included General Nathanael Greene and others. This conversation started me on a 20-year project of writing the history of these Greenes from 1550-1900–all because of a conversation and the fact that Minor followed up on his hunch. Had he not done this, we would never have known anything about this wonderful family of ours! I often think about him, and I’m very sorry to hear he is gone. Sincerely, Virginia D. G. Hales

  2. kelly

    Beautiful and touching story – it’s nice to know about the man behind the quote (which is so inspiring).

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