University of Toledo, Founding and early history

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Summary

The University of Toledo, commonly referred to as Toledo or UT, is a public research university located in Toledo, Ohio, United States. The university also operates a Health Science campus, also known as the University of Toledo Medical Center, in the West Toledo neighborhood of Toledo; a satellite campus in the Scott Park neighborhood of Toledo; the Center for the Visual Arts is located in downtown Toledo at the Toledo Museum of Art; and a research and education facility, known as the The Lake Erie Center, is at the Maumee Bay State Park.

Details

The University of Toledo began in 1872 as a private arts and trades school offering subjects such as painting and architectural drawing. The idea behind the school was fostered by Jesup Wakeman Scott, a local newspaper editor, who published a pamphlet in 1868 entitled "Toledo: Future Great City of the World." Scott's publication expressed his belief that the center of world commerce was moving westward, and by 1900 would be located in Toledo. In preparation for the expected westward expansion of world commerce to Toledo Scott donated 160 acres of land as an endowment for a university and The Toledo University of Arts and Trades was incorporated on October 12, 1872. The university's original mission was to "furnish artists and artisans with the best facilities for a high culture in their professions...." Scott died in 1874, a year before the university opened in an old church building downtown Toledo. By the late 1870s the school was in financial trouble and after thirty years in operation, the school closed in 1878. On January 8, 1884, the assets of the school became property of the city of Toledo. The school reopened as the under direction of the city as the Toledo Manual Training School. It offered a three-year program for students at least 13 years old who received both academic and manual instruction.

Jerome Raymond, the university's first president, expanded its offerings in the early 1900s by affiliating with the Toledo Conservatory of Music, the YMCA College of Law, and the Toledo Medical College. Raymond also created the College of Arts and Sciences. Despite the expansion, the school struggled financially and endured various legal battles over control. A. Monroe Stowe became president in 1914, and helped organize and stabilize the university and on January 30, 1914 the college became known as Toledo University. Stowe founded the College of Commerce and Industry (later the College of Business Administration) in 1914, and the College of Education in 1916. During the period, enrollment grew from 200 students to around 1,500. Along with the expanded academic offerings, extracurricular activities increased with the university's first intercollegiate athletic programs forming in 1915, including football in 1917. Other organizations formed, such as the addition of a student council and the university's first student newspaper, The Universi-Teaser, in 1919. The athletic programs received their nickname, the Rockets, in 1923 from a newspaper writer, who thought the name reflected the teams playing style.

By the 1920s, Toledo University was a growing institution, limited only by the buildings that housed it. Classes were held in two downtown buildings, but both were too small. In 1922, the university moved into an automobile mechanics training facility that had been constructed for World War I on the original Scott land after it outgrew the two downtown buildings where the university first operating in. Despite being twice the size of the old buildings, the location on the Scott land quickly became outdated after a 32 percent increase in enrollment created a shortage in classroom space. In 1928, Henry J. Doermann became president and soon initiated plans for a new campus. Doermann received his funding after a city-initiated bond levy passed by 10,000 votes. Doermann worked with a local architectural firm to design the new campus using design elements of the universities of Europe, the hope was that the architecture would inspire students. Less than a year later, University Hall and the Field House were completed in the Collegiate Gothic style. Although enrollments remained stable during the Great Depression, Philip C. Nash, who became president following Doermann's sudden death, instituted drastic measures to cut costs combined with New Deal funds from the federal government to help pay for new construction and scholarships.

The impact of World War II drastically affected the university. The military contracted with university to offer war-training programs for both military and civilian persons. Areas of study for civilians included: Engineering, Science and Management War Training program classes, and Civilian Pilot Training classes. The military used the university to house, and train a detachment of the 27th Army Air Crew while the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps trained nurses for Army field hospitals. Enrollment of women grew during the war and many student organizations reflected the changes, intercollegiate basketball and football were suspended while the university's Red Cross chapter, the first of its kind at a university, sponsored knitting bees to make sweaters for soldiers.

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