UMass Amherst campus, Pioneer Valley and Connecticut River in fall foliage.

Who Was Murry D. Lincoln?

The History Behind the Name

One needs to sit back every so often and ponder over why buildings on college campuses across the country are named after specific individuals.

Here at the University of Massachusetts, each building stands as a monument to a specific individual whose contributions to our university, the state of Massachusetts and in some cases our country and the world stand as testimony to their values, dedication and character.

Our Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is named appropriately as it reflects the name of one such individual.

Murray Danforth Lincoln was born April 18, 1892, on a small farm near Rayham, Massachusetts. He was the second son of Minot J. and Helen S. (Andrews) Lincoln whose family ultimately numbered five boys and one girl.

Educated in the public schools of Raynham, he received a bachelor of science degree in 1914 from the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts Amherst).

Mr. Lincoln began his vigorous career in 1914 as a county agricultural agent in New London county, Connecticut. He was one of the first agricultural agents in New England and the first in Connecticut.

Mr. Lincoln headed four insurance companies in the position of president. They were the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (auto and parent firm), Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Nationwide General Insurance Company (meritrate auto). Together these insurance companies offered more than 160 different kinds of insurance coverage to three million policyholders.

Outside the business sphere, Mr. Lincoln was a member of the American Food for Peace Council, Freedom from Hunger Committee, National Commission on Literacy, the central committee of the International Cooperative Alliance, and the advisory committee of the Agency for International Development (AID).

In the past, he served on the executive committee of the U.S. Committee for the United Nations, the U.N. Advisory Council, and the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture.

After a two year illness, Murray D. Lincoln died at Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in November 1966. He was survived by his wife, Anne of Easton, Massachusetts.

In the Fall of 1970, the Campus Center building was completed and opened bearing the name of Murray D. Lincoln.

Special thanks to the W.E.B. Dubois Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department at the University of Massachusetts.