Julius Alonzo Churchill (1932-1939)


Julius Alonzo Churchill was born in Lima, Ohio in October, 1862 and received his college education at Ohio Northern University. He was Superintendent of Schools in Baker City, Oregon from 1891 to 1913 and was appointed Superintendent of Schools in Oregon in 1913. He earned his Master's degree in 1921 and was appointed as the first President of the newly opened State Normal School in Ashland in 1926. Churchill’s interest in theatre brought Shakespeare plays to Baker City when he worked there. His influence also contributed to Shakespeare plays finding their way to Ashland—which helped lay the groundwork for what would become Ashland’s, now-famous, annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

One of Churchill's first moves as President of Oregon Normal School was rehabilitating the physical plant on campus. He also oversaw the construction of a new administration building (now the Lieuallen Building) and major renovations to the former administration building (now Campbell Hall). Churchill finished projects under budget and was able to return money to the Board which had given the grants, a practice unheard of in state projects--especially during the depression era. He helped push through legislation in 1939 which changed the names of the normal schools to colleges of education in Monmouth (Oregon College of Education), Ashland (Southern Oregon College of Education), and La Grande (Eastern Oregon College of Education). Churchill made strides to ease the financial burden on students, including expanding the book-exchange and offering a new book rental program, as well as promoting the adoption of new texts. Julius Alonzo Churchill died in Salem, Oregon on February 8, 1945.

Churchill School in Baker City, Oregon, a one story brick elementary school with six rooms and a basement, was built and named after J. A. Churchill. The school operated from 1923 to 2002 and is one of two schools named after a president of the college. Though the school closed in 2002, the building has been preserved and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.