Charles William Eliot (20 March 1834 - 22 August 1926) was an American educator and President of Harvard University from 1869 to 1909. Originally a chemist at MIT, he was elected to the post because of his liberal views regarding higher education, which he implemented during the forty years he served.
His innovations included higher standards for acceptance, an extensive curriculum, including many electives, and compulsory written examinations, but he also relaxed the strict rules governing student life on campus. Harvard flourished as a result, and became one of the leading universities in America.
Eliott also edited the Harvard Classics.
His son, Charles Eliot (1 November 1859-25 March 1897) was an important landscape architect, responsible for the public park system in Boston.