HOWE, CHARLES SUMNER (29 Sept. 1858-18 Apr. 1939), college educator and president of the Case School of Applied Science (1902-29) (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY), was born in Nashua, N.H., to William and Susan Woods Howe. In 1878 Howe received his B.S. in Agriculture from both Massachusetts Agricultural College and Boston University. He received his Ph.D. in 1887 from Wooster University, doing postgraduate work at Amherst College the following year. In 1879 he accepted first a high school principalship, then a professorship at Colorado College. He entered Johns Hopkins University in 1882, studying mathematics and physics. He became adjunct professor of mathematics at Buchtel College in 1883, and professor of mathematics and physics in 1884.
In 1889, Howe accepted appointment as professor of mathematics and astronomy at Case School of Applied Science. He brought the first German-made Riefler clock, then considered the world's best, to America, with his own modifications making it the most accurate timepiece in the world. Appointed acting president of Case in 1902, Howe was appointed president in 1903. He reinstituted freshman entrance examinations and maintained a class-rank status system for faculty. He was responsible new buildings on campus, and maintained a close relationship with influential Clevelanders, including JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, WORCESTER WARNER, and AMBROSE SWASEY. Believing engineers had an obligation to participate in civic affairs, Howe was president of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Cleveland River & Harbor Commission, and was prominent in establishing EAST and West Technical high schools.
Howe married Abbie A. Waite (d. 1924) on 22 May 1882; they had three children: William C., Earle W., and Francis E. He married again to Ida E. Puffer on 20 Sept. 1929. Howe was buried in the Glendale Cemetery in Akron.