He was successful in raising money, especially from William Carleton and Susan Willis in Massachusetts. In the first year of his presidency, Strong's carriage was hit by a train in Boston, nearly killing him. His survival inspired William Carleton to donate $50,000 to the new college. In recognition, Northfield College became Carleton College.
By 1882, the college had a 40-acre campus, 14,000 volumes in its library, 24 faculty, and 237 students.
Strong retired in 1903.