Valparaiso University - History - Methodist Foundation

Methodist Foundation

History at a glance
Valparaiso Male and Female College Established 1859 Affiliations Methodist
Closed 1871 to 1873
Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute Acquired 1873 Affiliations secular
Valparaiso College Renamed 1900
Valparaiso University Renamed 1906
Acquired 1925 Affiliations Lutheran

What is now Valparaiso University was founded by the Methodist Church in 1859 as Valparaiso Male and Female College, one of the first co-educational four-year institutions in the United States. Citizens of Valparaiso were so supportive of the placement of the College that they raised $11,000 in early 1859 to encourage the Methodist Church to locate there.

Students paid tuition of $8 per term (three terms per year), plus nearby room and board around $2 per week. Instruction at the college actually began with young children, and most of the students were in the elementary grade levels. Courses at the collegiate level included math, literature, history, the sciences, and philosophy. Courses stressing the Christian faith included "moral philosophy" and "moral science."

The school was forced to close in 1871, due to the fallout of the Civil War. Not only did most of the men (both students and administrative members) enroll in an army, but Indiana had passed a bill in 1867 that provided for state support for public education, and the Methodists' very broad Indiana-wide efforts toward higher education meant that none of the schools were self-sustaining. This combination proved too much to overcome for the Male and Female College.

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