William Giles Goddard (1794-1846), professor of moral philosophy and belles-lettres, was born in Johnston, Rhode Island, on January 2, 1794. He graduated from Brown in 1812 and began the study of law in Worcester, Massachusetts. He turned to newspaper editing as associate editor of the Worcester Spy, and in 1813 became the proprietor and editor of the Rhode Island American. In 1825 he was appointed professor of moral philosophy and metaphysics. He felt he had no aptitude for philosophy, and arrangements were made for him to teach instead rhetoric, the evidences of religion, and the constitution of the United States. He was appointed professor of belles-lettres in 1834. He took a more active interest than any of his colleagues in the Dorr Rebellion in 1842, at which time, according to President Wayland, “His essays for the daily press, during this period alone, would fill a moderately sized volume.” He resigned in 1842 because of his health and died in Providence on February 16, 1846. Wayland wrote further of him:
“The manners of Professor Goddard were courteous and refined. His personal habits, without being painfully exact, were scrupulously neat, and in perfect harmony with the character of a literary citizen. His conversation, sometimes playful, never frivolous, was always instructive, and at time singularly forcible, captivating and eloquent. His tastes were simple and easily gratified; and I think that he preferred a book in his study, or a conversation at the fireside with a friend, to any form of more exciting and outdoor enjoyment.”Professor Goddard’s sons were Thomas Poynton Ives Goddard 1846, William Goddard 1846, Moses Brown Ives Goddard 1854, Francis Wayland Goddard 1855, and Robert Hale Ives Goddard 1858.