William Warren Prescott
W. W. Prescott was an influential administrator,
educator, and scholar. His parents had been Millerites in New England,
where he took his schooling, graduating in 1877 from Dartmouth College,
in New Hampshire. He taught Latin and Greek while still in his last year
in academy and was principal of two Vermont high schools from 1877 to
1880. Later, he owned and edited the Montpelier, Vermont, State Republican.
Prescott was president of Battle Creek College
from 1885 to 1894. While still president there, he helped form Union College,
becoming its first president in 1891. Then, late in 1892, he also became
president of Walla Walla College, thus simultaneously being president
of three Adventist colleges in that year.
While on world tour in 1894-1895 Prescott
helped to found the Avondale School for Christian Workers (now Avondale
College) in Australia. In 1901 he became vice president of the General
Conference, chair of the Review and Herald Publishing Board, and editor
of the Review. He was field secretary of the General Conference
from 1915 until he retired in 1937.
Ellen White had a great interest that Battle
Creek College be a trainer of workers for a world church. When Prescott
went to Battle Creek as president at the age of 29, he and his wife developed
a school that was orderly and well disciplined. He also took a cultural
approach that gave the students and school a high reputation in the community.
In 1893 and 1894, when Anna Phillips began
claiming to have the prophetic gift, both A. T. Jones and W. W. Prescott
publicly supported her. Ellen White, however, wrote warnings from Australia
to both men against Anna's claims. Both Jones in Battle Creek, and Prescott
in Walla Walla, accepted her counsel and dropped their support. The letters
traveled several weeks and yet arrived just in time to correct the problem.
S. N. Haskell, president of the California Conference, happened to be
at Walla Walla at the time and wrote to Ellen White: "I have heard about
testimonies coming just in season, but I never experienced such providence
before."--S. N. Haskell to Ellen White, March 31, 1894 (EGW Biography,
vol. 4, p. 129). Anna Phillips also accepted the reproof and ceased making
her claims to the prophetic gift.
In 1910 Ellen White decided to bring out
a new edition of The Great Controversy, and she asked capable church
leaders to reexamine the book to see if its truths were stated in the
very best manner. Prescott offered a large number of suggestions, about
half of which were used in the new 1911 edition. It is clear that Ellen
White had great respect for him, and yet she did not hesitate to correct
him when needed. Prescott was truly a remarkable educational leader, and
his contributions, especially in this area, were felt around the world.