Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
Skidmore History

PorterDavid H. Porter

David H. Porter, the college's fifth president, came to Skidmore in 1987 from Carleton College, where he taught classics and music. Early in his presidency, Porter established the Commission on the '90s to help chart Skidmore's course to the twenty-first century. The commission recommended new institutional priorities, with an emphasis on enhancing the academic tone on campus, ensuring long-term financial stability and promoting greater diversity within the campus community and curriculum.

During the Porter presidency, Skidmore launched the Honors Forum as well as a program of scholarships in science and mathematics, now named in his honor.

The campus landscape changed dramatically during his tenure, as Skidmore renovated and expanded Scribner Library, constructed an outdoor athletic complex, built an addition to the Sports and Recreation Center and expanded Dana Science Center.

In addition, Porter helped lead the largest fundraising effort in Skidmore's history, the Skidmore Journey: A Campaign for Our Second Century, launched in 1993. The five-year campaign raised $86.5 million, enabling the college to substantially increase its endowment and providing funds for construction of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.

Following his term as president, he returned to the classroom, teaching at his alma mater, Princeton University, as well as Williams College, Indiana University and Skidmore, where he served as the first Tisch Family Distinguished Professor. He retired from the classroom in 2013, but remained an active scholar and contributor to the Skidmore community until his death in 2016.

Porter Plaza, on the south side of Case Center, is named for him.