Samuel Ruggles

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See also Wikipedia's article about "Samuel B. Ruggles".

Samuel Ruggles was a notable trustee of Columbia College during the 19th century. He had no ties to Columbia himself, having attended Yale and read for the bar without attending law school, but his son-in-law, George Templeton Strong, was married to his daughter Emma. As a trustee, he played an active and interested role in Columbia's transformation from a classical college curriculum toward that of a modern research university.

In 1854, for example, incensed by the Gibbs Affair, in which Columbia had refused to hire respected chemist Oliver Wolcott Gibbs because the latter was Unitarian, he published a 60-page pamphlet entitled "The Duty of Columbia College to the Community," urging the trustees not only to appoint Gibbs, but to expand the curriculum in the direction of the physical and natural sciences. Again in 1880, Ruggles played a pivotal role in urging the university's formation of the "School of Political Science," its first PhD-granting institution, telegraphing President Frederick A. P. Barnard to declare, after the other trustees had successfully voted for the reform, that "the university is born".

Ruggles Hall is named for him. Beyond his Columbia-related pursuits, he's known for donating the land used for the creation of Gramercy Park and for insisting on the creation of Madison Avenue, which was not part of Manhattan's original street grid. So basically, you can thank him for Mad Men.