Ohio Wesleyan University

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Ohio Wesleyan University (also Wesleyan or OWU) is a highly selective private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Delaware, Ohio, 20 miles north of Columbus, Ohio, the capital of the state of Ohio in the United States.

Ohio Wesleyan University's charter provides that "the University is forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles". Various college publications such as Loren Pope's, Barron's, Princeton Review and the U.S. News and World Report place Wesleyan in the top ranks of private liberal arts colleges in the United States for 2005.

Wesleyan is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Five Colleges of Ohio, a consortium of selective liberal arts colleges in Ohio: Kenyon College, Oberlin College, College of Wooster and Denison University. Ohio Wesleyan University is now independent and makes no religious demands on its students. Students come from about 44 states and about 47 foreign nations.


Wesleyan was founded by Adam Poe and Charles Elliott, leaders of the local Williams Street Methodist Church and residents of Delaware, Ohio, in 1841 when the Delaware residents agreed on the need to establish a university "of the highest order" in central Ohio. When the Mansion House Hotel went on the market later during the same year, Adam Poe, a pastor of the Methodist Church in Delaware, Ohio, encouraged citizens of Delaware to purchase the property. Later, 172 citizens raised a $10,000 contribution and purchased it.

Wesleyan opened as a college in 1844. In the 19th century, Ohio Wesleyan University consisted of several schools: a College of Liberal Arts (founded in 1844), a School of Oratory (founded in 1894), a School of Music (founded in 1877), a School of Fine Arts (established in 1877) and a Business School (established in 1895). The university is one of the first universities named for John Wesley, and is among the oldest of the numerous Methodist universities in the U.S. and abroad.

The college was originally an all-male institution, but it became coeducational in 1877. Wesleyan's traditions date back to its founding, when the College of Liberal Arts opened its doors with an enrollment of 29 male students taught by three professors. The college was housed in Elliott Hall, formerly the Mansion House Hotel, which had been constructed in the early 1830s when the current East Campus was a popular health resort. The resort was known for the “health-giving although odoriferous waters” of its famed Sulphur Spring, a favorite spot of future generations of students.


The following alumni are associated with Wesleyan: