William Mann Irvine1893–1928
William Mann Irvine, Ph.D., was appointed to lead Mercersburg in 1893 at the age of 28. Previously an instructor at Franklin and Marshall College, Dr. Irvine earned a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1892.
Within months of his appointment, Dr. Irvine renamed the school Mercersburg Academy and reorganized it as a college preparatory school on the Exeter model. Dr. Irvine launched the new school in the fall of 1893 with 40 boys, four instructors, and four acres of leased ground.
During Dr. Irvine’s tenure, Mercersburg rapidly grew in size and stature, gaining regional and national recognition as a top college preparatory boarding school with strong ties to Princeton University. Among his achievements was the construction of three dormitories, a dining hall, gymnasium, infirmary, administration building, and the Chapel. A new Main Hall and Annex were built after a fire gutted Old Main in 1927.
Boyd Edwards, D.D., was elected headmaster in 1928 on the death of the previous headmaster, William Mann Irvine. Dr. Edwards, who held a doctor of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, successfully guided the school through the Great Depression, while further raising the academic standards and improving the physical plant of the Academy.