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Skidmore College
Skidmore Retirees

Charles Henry Keyes

Charles Henry Keyes, died in January 1925, at his son’s home in New York City. He was 66.

Charles Henry Keyes, a well-known educator from Teachers College of Columbia University, was hired in 1912 by Lucy Skidmore Scribner as the first president of her school. His vision and energy gave the fledgling Skidmore School of Arts the momentum it needed to grow into something more than a hybrid college and vocational school.

In 1922 he fulfilled his avowed ambition of winning a charter for Skidmore College as a four-year degree-granting institution. Two-year courses of study were withdrawn in 1920, and three-year courses in 1923, so that only four-year studies were offered. In addition to developing a liberal arts curriculum that became the basis for Skidmore's present curriculum, Keyes pioneered the college’s baccalaureate nursing program. He also began the more active shaping of a campus and played a key role in acquiring several of Saratoga’s large Victorian homes in the Congress Park area, which were converted into dormitory and classroom buildings that began to give Skidmore a recognizable physical identity.

On today’s campus, the Keyes Quadrangle (comprising the Howe, Rounds, Wait, and Jonsson Tower residence halls) is named for him.