Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Everett, Walter G.

Walter Goodnow Everett (1860-1937), professor of philosophy, was born in Rowe, Massachusetts, on August 21, 1860. He graduated from Brown in 1885, after which he was a private tutor in Providence for four years. In 1889 he became instructor in Greek and Latin at Brown, but changed his subject when he was named associate professor of philosophy in 1894. He earned his Ph.D. degree at Brown in 1895, and then studied at the Universities of Berlin and Strasburg the following year. He was head of the Philosophy Department from 1896 to 1930, and served as acting president while President Faunce made a trip around the world in 1912-13. He became internationally known for his book, Moral Values, which was published in 1918, published in England in 1920, and translated into Japanese in 1929 at the request of the Imperial University of Tokyo. He was appointed a delegate of the American Philosophical Association to the Allied Congress of Philosophy in Paris in 1921, and was president of the Association in 1922. At the last meeting of Everett’s famous course in Ethics in 1930, the students in the class presented him with a leather-bound illuminated testimonial, which read:

“On behalf of the students, who, for forty years, have found wise counsel and affectionate understanding in your presentation of the essentials of life, we, your last class in Brown University, wish to present to you this token of our appreciation. Friend to all, counsellor to many, inspiring lecturer, recognized authority in your chosen field, internationally respected and revered, it is with deep regret we view your departure from the faculty. Pax vobiscum.”
At the 1937 Commencement Everett’s portrait by Ernest L. Ipsen was presented to the University by a number of his former students. He died on July 29, 1937 in Berkeley, California, at the home of his daughter, wife of philosopher Alexander Meiklejohn 1893. An obituary notice in the Providence Evening Bulletin recalled Everett:
“All the graciousness and courtesy of an Old-World gentleman were expressed in him. ... Small, dapper, twinkling eyes, the sideburns, the cultured voice, the wit, the careful phrasing, the joy he experienced in teaching the subject in which he delighted, the side remarks that carried so much human wisdom. And was there ever such a generous man! Even the dolt, to whom philosophy was as esoteric as the Tibetan mysteries, would receive his encouragement and his kindly words. Small himself in stature, he was as grand in his thought and as magnificent in his feelings as the mighty Himalayas. Once he introduced Bertrand Russell, the distinguished British philosopher, mathematician and radical, to an audience in Sayles Hall. The introductory speech of Professor Everett remains; what Bertrand Russell said is forgotten.”