John G. Crabbe

John G. Crabbe

John Grant Crabbe
President from
March 1910 to August 1916

John Grant Crabbe, Kentucky superintendent of public instruction, assumed the Eastern presidency in 1910, and he spent a good part of his time perfecting the organization of the still young institution. Dr. Crabbe had two real loves, the library and the physical plant. Today's modern EKU library bears his name in honor of his efforts in that area, and he is credited for nearly doubling the appropriations for maintenance of the campus.

Dr. Crabbe improved the curriculum, achieved financial solvency, and oversaw the construction of an annex to Sullivan Hall dormitory. Academics focused almost exclusively on teacher training and preparation. Student life was carefully regulated and centered on student identification with clubs organized around counties from which students came. Literary societies and oratorical contests also occupied student interests. Maroon and white were selected as school colors.  Intercollegiate athletic competition for men and women began shortly after Eastern opened in 1907.

Dr. Crabbe's tenure ended in 1916, when he left Eastern to become president at Colorado State Teachers College. His successor, Thomas Jackson Coates, was the first in a series of long-term presidents.