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A gift of $25,000 from William H. Vanderbilt in 1880 was pivotal in the creation of McCormick Observatory. This money was used partially to fund Fellows to work at the Observatory, assisting the Director. This was the first job in astronomy for most of these Fellows, many of whom went on to distinguished careers in astronomy and other fields. Also listed here are a some of the earliest Ph.D's from McCormick Observatory.
William H. Vanderbilt (1821-1885) a railroad magnate and philanthropist, was the son of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), steamboat and railroad baron and endower of Vanderbilt University. William was also the father of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1843-1899), who built The Breakers in Newport R. I., as well as George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), philanthropist, who built the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.
James Park McCallie, (received Ph.D. in 1903) founder of the McCallie School 1905
T. McNider Simpson: Mathematics Professor at Randolph-Macon College
Edward Ryant (Ned) Dyer, Jr. (received M.A. in 1940, Ph.D. in 1948), worked with Vyssotksy and Baade on M dwarfs, Professor at Virginia and Georgetown, then served as staff at the National Academy of Sciences (1957-1983) where he worked with the Space Science Board and served as a liason with NASA, COSPAR and the President's Science Advisory Committee