In 1893, Joseph Swain (who studied under Daniel Kirkwood) returned after two years on the original Stanford University faculty to become the ninth president of IU. He had been Daniel Kirkwood’s successor as professor of mathematics in 1886. In 1894, John A. Miller returned to IU from Stanford University to serve as a Professor of Mathematics, and in 1895, the Board of Trustees voted to create the Department of Mechanics and Astronomy, with John A. Miller as its Head. (Mechanics was dropped from the name in 1915.)
Miller studied visual binary stars, and arranged for IU’s first Observatory, located at the western end of Dunn Meadow. The observatory was equipped with a Browning Equatorial Telescope of 4-1/2-inch objective for the use of students in Astronomy. The observatory was moved in 1910 or 1911 to an area where Woodburn Hall is located today, and dismantled in 1928.