William Watts Folwell (near Geneva, New York, 1833–1929) was the first President of the University of Minnesota.
William Watts Folwell attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1857 and his Masters of Arts degree in 1860. Soon after, Folwell joined the 50th Regiment, New York Engineers where received the rank of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers.
After serving in the Civil War, Folwell, at the age of just 36, became the University of Minnesota's first president, serving from 1869 to 1884. When Folwell assumed the University presidency there was but a single building, and the library consisted of only a 16 volume encyclopedia.
Folwell later became President of the Minnesota Historical Society serving there from 1924 to 1927. Folwell Hall on the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota is named for him.
Books written by Folwell:
- Folwell, William Watts (1908). Minnesota, the North Star State. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.. OCLC 409032.
- Folwell, William Watts (1909). University Addresses. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson. OCLC 6362596.
- Folwell, William Watts (1918). Economic Addresses. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. OCLC 6389162.
- Folwell, William Watts (1921–1930). A History of Minnesota. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society. OCLC 376916.
- Folwell, William Watts; Buck, Solon J. (1933). William Watts Folwell; The Autobiography and Letters of a Pioneer of Culture. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press. OCLC 2287639.
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|width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
— |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|President of the University of Minnesota
1869–1884 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Cyrus Northrop |- |}
Template:University of Minnesota presidents