Valparaiso University Acting President, 1917-1919
Oliver Perry Kinsey’s interest in teaching led him to National Normal University. After graduation, he taught English at National Normal. When he came to Valparaiso, he was a prominent citizen: he served on the city and county councils and the library board, helped establish the city waterworks, and was active in the Methodist church.
Kinsey came to Valparaiso University in 1881 at the invitation of President Henry Baker Brown, who asked Kinsey to help him run the rapidly growing Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. Kinsey and Brown worked in a close and productive partnership for over 30 years as co-owners of the school. Kinsey possessed both managerial skills and business acumen and was extremely adept at making the school profitable while keeping costs as low as possible. His wife, Sarah Porter Kinsey, taught geography and grammar at Valpo and was the matron of the University’s first dormitory for women, East Hall. When President Brown was debilitated by a stroke in 1912, Kinsey took over as president, although he insisted on the title “Acting President” while his friend was alive. Even after Brown’s death in 1917, Kinsey never accepted the title of president.