From Dream to Reality: The Founding of Cedarville College, 1887-1897

Each year, during the month of January, Cedarville University celebrates Charter Day, a day to commemorate its founding on January 26, 1887. The five founders of then Cedarville College comprised a committee formed by the Reformed Presbyterian Synod to find a place to establish a Christian college for their young people and to obtain a charter from the state of Ohio to officially sanction and establish that college. Rehearsing the history of the university, two significant years brought times of crises, the first the year 1890, when the dream of the college almost died, and the second the year 1953, when the college itself almost died. Using important documents and depictions from the University Archives, this exhibit reviews that first crisis with a journey starting in 1887 when the founders obtained the charter to establish Cedarville College, to 1891 when a benefactor provided funds at a time when failure was imminent, to 1894 when the first classes were launched, and to 1897 when five graduates participated in the first commencement. Since that first graduation celebration, there has been a commencement at Cedarville every year, this year being the 126th, demonstrating God’s faithfulness to that early dream of the founders.

Although this exhibit is not currently in the Biblical Heritage Gallery, the virtual exhibit remains accessible by following this link.

Exhibit history:

  • Spring 2022

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Browse the From Dream to Reality: The Founding of Cedarville College, 1887-1897 Collections:

The Founders

The Benefactor

The Launch

The Firsts