The Rev. John Chester, D.D., second president of the Institute, was for twelve years pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in the city of Albany, from 1815 to 1828. He was born at Weathersfield, Conn., in August, 1785 - the son of Col. John Chester, of the Revolutionary Army. He entered Yale College in 1801 and graduated in 1804. He pursued his theological studies under the direction of Dr. Joseph Lyman, of Hatfield, Mass., and was licensed to preach by the Hartford Association College in 1807, at the age of 22. His first efforts to publish the gospel were made in Marblehead, Mass. He also preached a short time in Springfield, Mass., and also in Middletown, Conn., and then removed to this state and was stationed at Cooperstown, and from 1810 to 1815 was pastor at Hudson, from which latter place he was called to Albany, where his relations with Mr. Van Rensselaer, the Founder, was such as led to his appointment and acceptance of the office of President on the 25th of June, 1828, which office he held, in the declining state of his health, for the period of only about six months. In 1821 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the corporation of Union College. He died at Philadelphia on the 12th day of January, 1829. He was an eminent divine of that day, of great learning and eloquence, and having the respect and love not only of the people of Albany but of all the Church. An eloquent scholar himself, and deeply convinced of the connection and dependence between science and religion, he was devoted to the cause of education. He married, in Philadelphia, the daughter of Robert Ralston. He was the associate and friend of Chancellor James Kent, and succeeded him as the president of the Albany Female Academy, of which he was one of the founders. He was also a patron and trustee of the Albany Academy.
Nason, Henry B., ed. Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824-1886. Troy, NY: William H. Young, 1887, pp. 28-29.