Penn People

William Wilberforce Newton

1843 - 1914

Penn Connection

  • A.B. 1865, A.M. 1868, D.D. (hon.) 1890
  • Winner of Sophomore Declamation Prize
  • Moderator of Philomathean Society and president of Glee Club
  • Class poet

William Wilberforce Newton was born on November 4, 1843 in Philadelphia, the son of Rev. Richard Newton (Class of 1836) and Lydia Gretorex.

Newton entered the University in 1861 as member of the Class of 1865. He was a moderator of the Philomathean Society and president of the Glee Club. He received the Sophomore Declamation Prize and also became the class poet; his poems composed for numerous occasions over the years included the class poem “Carpe Viam.”

During the Civil War emergency of 1863, Newton served as a private in Landis’ (Pennsylvania) battery.

After graduation Newton attended the Episcopal Divinity School in Philadelphia before serving as an Episcopal clergyman in various places including Newark, New Jersey, Boston, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Newton authored numerous religious texts and several cantatas. He was awarded an honorary D.D. degree by the University of Pennsylvania in 1890.

Newton married Emily Stevenson Cooke. He died in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1914.