Dr. Wickersham was a founder of the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association, an early president of the National Education Association, the first superintendent of common schools of Lancaster County, and the director of the Lancaster County Teachers’ Institute. The institute was begun in 1853 and moved into the academy building in Millersville in 1855. Under his direction, the institute became the first state normal school in Pennsylvania, and he was also responsible for the development of the curriculum that served as a model for other normal schools in the state. He left Millersville to become State Superintendent of Common Schools and later served as President’s Arthur’s Envoy to Denmark. He died in 1891. Heirs of Dr. J.P. Wickersham present his pedagogical library in 1892.
Wickersham Hall, built in 1938, was named in memory of Dr. Wickersham and served as the principal classroom for a number of years.