Wilbur, Ray Lyman

Wilbur, Ray Lyman,

1875–1949, American public official and educator, b. Boonesboro, Iowa, grad. Stanford (B.A., 1896; M.A., 1897) and Cooper Medical College, San Francisco, 1899. After studying medicine abroad, Wilbur became a professor (1909–16) and dean (1911–16) of the medical school at Stanford. In 1916 he became president of Stanford. In World War I he served with the U.S. Food Administration and was (1929–33) Secretary of the Interior under President Hoover. He retired as college president in 1943. The March of Medicine (1938) and Human Hopes (1940) are collections of his speeches and writings.


See his memoirs (ed. by E. E. Robinson and P. C. Edwards, 1960).

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Wilbur, Ray Lyman

(1875–1949) physician, educator, public official; born in Boonesboro, Iowa. After taking his B.A. and M.A. at Stanford, he went on to get his M.D. (1899) and began practicing medicine in San Francisco; starting in 1900 he would become associated with Stanford for most of his career—with time out for government service—as a professor (1900–16), dean of the medical school (1911–16), and university president (1916–29). During World War I he assisted his former Stanford classmate/friend, Herbert Hoover, as administrator of food supplies; Wilbur coined the slogan "food will win the war" for the American war effort (1917). As a prominent Republican physician, he attended President Harding on his deathbed (1923). President Hoover appointed him secretary of the interior (1929–33), after which he returned to being president of Stanford (1933–43) and then its chancellor (1943–49). He is credited with making Stanford into a major university, establishing graduate and engineering schools.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.