Edward Ernest Braithwaite
(1914-1919) The Reverend Dr. Braithwaite arrived in 1914 with impressive credentials. He had degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill, Oberlin College in Ohio, and an MA and PhD from Harvard. He was a Congregational minister who taught at Oberlin, was chairman of the Congregational Union of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and pastor of a church in Massachusetts. He had also been a fellow of Semitic languages at the University of Chicago. Assuming Western's presidency when the prospects for growth were good, Dr. Braithwaite saw the Faculty of Arts as central to this growth.
He also believed that providing local scholarships, a summer school and extension program would strengthen Western's profile in the province. But war broke out within months of his appointment, and student and faculty numbers dropped as men enlisted. As the war escalated, there was talk of closing Western and using Huron College as a military hospital. Despite this, Braithwaite worked relentlessly to increase public awareness of Western, speaking or writing to anyone who would give him an audience, advertising in newspapers, and obtaining the names and addresses of potential students from regional high schools. Like James before him, Braithwaite continued to strengthen the Arts faculty and finally won recognition from the Ontario Department of Education to grant an honours degree with specialist standing, giving Western equal rating with Queen's, Toronto and McMaster.