Cradles of Conscience: Ohio's Independent Colleges and Universities

Cradles of Conscience: Ohio's Independent Colleges and Universities

Cradles of Conscience: Ohio's Independent Colleges and Universities

Cradles of Conscience: Ohio's Independent Colleges and Universities

Synopsis

Because of its history of westward expansion and its diverse population, Ohio is home to many independent institutions of higher education. This text comprises essays which relate the circumstances of the foundation of 40 such institutions and the history of each since its inception.

Excerpt

James A. Hodges

In 1998 John Oliver, a historian at Malone College, thought it would be interesting to gather together some historical essays on the founding and development of Ohio’s private, or independent, colleges. John argued that Ohio, as the most eastern state of the Northwest Territory, exploded in growth throughout the nineteenth century, and from the beginning the people of Ohio sought colleges and universities. As the essay on defunct colleges chronicles, many of the early institutions failed to thrive. Nevertheless, Kenyon College (1824), Denison University (1831), Ohio Wesleyan University (1832), Marietta College (1835), and Muskingum College (1836) persisted and were, by the 1880s, joined by many others that grace the state.

Ohio today has more independent colleges than other state except for Pennsylvania. These schools educate tens of thousands of Ohioans and students from every state in the nation and from all over the globe. How were they founded and by whom? What happened to their founding missions and how did they meet the twists and turns of challenges of financial crises, different arguments for educational mission, changing student interests, the increasing secularity of American society, the crises of the American war experiences, the cultural conflicts of the 1960s, and the cyclical nature of the American economy? How do they now see themselves and their meaning for their students and constituencies in the twenty-first century?

John enlisted James O’Donnell and me, both of us former presidents of the Ohio Academy of History, to join him in assembling a group of contributors who would write short interpretative essays about individual colleges or universities. the essays, presented here in alphabetical order by college, came about as the three of us found willing contributors. the contributors are in preponderance historians who teach or taught at the colleges they write about. But these authors are also archivists, a librarian, a public relations professional, and other college- or university-affiliated . . .

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