Born in Vermont in 1866, Alden was a graduate of Carleton College and did his graduate studies at Harvard, Chicago and Wisconsin. Prior to joining Willamette’s faculty, Alden taught history for four years at the University of Washington. In 1914 President Homan abolished the office of dean, held by Gaylard H. Patterson. The friction between Homan and Patterson escalated until the Board of Trustees accepted both their resignations. The Board then restored the office of dean and appointed Alden to that position and named him acting president for a year. Alden was exceedingly careful to promote harmonious intra-university relations. According to Alden in his mid-year report to the Board he “considered it [his] chief duty to so conduct the administration as to induce both students and faculty to forget any complaints which they might have and to join in a loyal effort to promote the common good” and made great strides in that direction in time for the arrival of the new president, Carl Doney, in 1915. Alden taught history for 21 years at Willamette and was popular with the students and the faculty as well as the Salem community. Alden retired to California for health reasons.