Rev. Harvey Denison Kitchel (1812-1895), the fifth president, was born at Whitehall, N. Y., Feb. 3, 1812. His education was obtained by persistent efforts, and he graduated at Middlebury College with high honors in 1835. Soon after he entered Andover Theological Seminary, where he remained until 1836, when he returned to Middlebury College as tutor. The next year he resumed his studies at Yale Theological Seminary and graduated at that institution in 1838. In 1839 he became pastor of the Congregational church in Thomaston, Conn., where he remained until 1848, when he was called to the First Congregational Church in Detroit, Mich. His service at that church continued for sixteen years and there he confirmed his reputation as a vigorous thinker, an eloquent preacher, a strong man. In 1864 he accepted a call to the Plymouth Church in Chicago, and thence in 1866, upon the retirement of President Labaree, he was called to the presidency of Middlebury College.
Dr. Kitchel entered upon the duties of his office in the fullness of his powers and for nine years administered the affairs of the college with sound judgment and thorough efficiency. In the State at large he at once took his place as a man of commanding powers and wide influence while he entered the college life with dignity and kindliness. His administration was quiet and successful. In 1869 various repairs were made upon the chapel building. The library In Old Chapel was enlarged to occupy the entire second floor, the museum being upon the lower floor in what later became the biological department. The chapel itself was made smaller, the southern portion being cut off making the philosophical laboratory. The old gallery was made into a reading room. In 1872, German was introduced into the curriculum, with Civil War veteran Professor E. W. Higley, Class of 1868, being appointed to that department. Largely through the efforts of President Kitchel the old Addison County Grammar School was united with the village school and the High School building was erected in 1867. During the years 1866-69, two professorships were endowed by individuals and a subscription completed aggregating over $100,000. President Kitchel resigned his position in 1875 and removed to East Liverpool, Ohio, where he died in 1895.