Barnas Sears was perhaps the most prominent Baptist educator in the country, his predecessor Francis Wayland notwithstanding. He was an alumnus of Brown, having graduated in 1825 after supporting himself by teaching school over winter break and building stone walls in the summer. Sears steered Brown through the financial hardships that preceded and were brought on by the Civil War, and actually managed to augment the endowment by $210,000 during his tenure. Sears' more moderate views on discipline were met with enthusiasm by undergraduates, whose student societies were now permitted to hold night meetings. President Sears presided over the opening of a new chemistry facility as well as some changes in the curriculum. He was so beloved as President that when he left Brown in 1857, the entire student body lined up to shake his hand before he embarked for a new position in Virginia.