Father Robert Fulton, S.J. (1826-1895), President of Boston College

Rev. James Robert Fulton (The New York Times, September 6, 1895)

The Rev. James Robert Fulton, S.J., ex-President of Boston College, died yesterday at Santa Clara College, San Jose, Cal. The Rev. James Robert Fulton was born at Alexandria, Va., June 28, 1826. In his early youth he was a page in the United States Senate. He entered Georgetown College with the intention of preparing for West Point, but in 1843, at the age of seventeen, he decided to enter the Society of Jesus. Having completed his novitiate and the prescribed course of philosophy, he became Professor of Rhetoric to the juiniors of the Society of Jesus at Frederick City, Md., and afterward filled the same chair at St. John’s College, once a flourishing institution in the same town. He next taught the classes in poetry and rhetoric at Georgetown. Immediately after his ordination in 1861, he removed to Boston, where he taught theology to scholastics. In 1864 Boston College was formally opened, and became the first prefect of studies. In 1870 he became President of Boston College and rector of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. In 1880 he was transferred to New York, where he was rector of St. Lawrence’s Church for one year. In 1881 he was again transferred to St. Aloysius’s Church, Washington, D.C., there to attempt the herculean task of freeing that church from the heavy burden of $200,000 indebtedness. In less than one year he raised $100,000, and was chosen Provincial of the New York and Maryland Province during May 1882. This office he held for two terms of three years each. While Provincial the Rev. Mr. Fulton was called across the ocean several times. In 1883 he went to Rome as a delegate to the general congregation, which elevated the Very Rev. A.M. Auderledy, S.J., to the Generalship of the Society. Again in 1886 he crossed the sea by order of the General as Visitor to the province of Ireland. In this capacity he inspected all the houses and colleges of the order in that country, returning to the United States in April 1888. July 4, 1888, he was again transferred to Boston to preside over Boston College. His arduous work in extending the college buildings and its work undermined his health, and in 1890 he practically retired.

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