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A native of Pennsylvania, Nutt taught at Indiana-Asbury (now DePauw) University in Greencastle before becoming a professor of Latin and Greek in Bloomington in 1838, and later a professor of mathematics later.
During his tenure, IU became coeducational, when the first woman was admitted in 1867.
He was a Methodist Pastor up until his death, and had resigned his University position just a few weeks before he died in 1875.
He married the former Amanda Standiford, and they had one child, James Nutt.