175 Makers of History: Ignatius Alphonso Few

Ignatius Alphonso Few
Founding President, Emory College

Ignatius Alphonso Few

Born in Georgia in 1789, Ignatius Alphonso Few studied briefly at Princeton and in New York City before returning home to study law in Augusta.

By turns a planter, a soldier, and a successful lawyer, he became a Christian as an adult and entered the ministry in 1828. After serving churches in Savannah and Macon, Georgia, he was forced by illness (apparently tuberculosis) to "retire," and thus was able to take up his real passion, education.

Becoming the founding director of the Methodist Conference Manual Labor School in 1834, he set his sights higher and in 1836 persuaded the Georgia Methodists to create a college for educating their sons closer to home (they also established Wesleyan College for women in the same year). Thus was Emory College born.

Forced by ill health to retire in 1839, Few continued to be active in church and college affairs until his death in 1845.