Taylor has always been a trailblazer.

Our history begins almost two decades before the start of the Civil War, when women were widely excluded from higher education. From the start, we’ve insisted that an academic community can think deeply and critically, without turning its back on loving Jesus and serving the world. By God’s grace, we have been doing this for the last 175 years. This is our heritage — and it’s our future, too.


William Henry Harrison wins presidential election; the Telegraph is Invented, and the Gold Rush begins

September 28, 1846


Fort Wayne Female College is founded as an all-women’s college in a larger effort by North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church to respond to the 2nd Great Awakening and a newfound interest in higher education for women. It was among the first women’s colleges in the US, dedicated to teaching them true academia for the first time.

September 28, 1846


Veterans returning home from the Mexican-American War petition the school to become co-educational because there were few local, accessible educational options for blue-collar working class families. The school changed its name to Fort Wayne College when it opened admission to men.


Booker T. Washington opens the Tuskegee Institute, Mark Twain publishes Huck Finn, and the Krakatoa Volcano erupts.


Fort Wayne College merges with Fort Wayne Medical College, becoming Taylor University, in honor of Bishop William Taylor, a Methodist evangelist and missionary.

Taylor overcomes the worst financial crisis in its history.


Wyoming and Idaho are admitted as the 43rd and 44th states, the Ellis Island Immigration Station begins processing immigrants to the United States, and Frederick Douglass dies.


The Fort Wayne Medical College is the best medical school in the region at the time, attracting students such as Alice Hamilton, the founding mother of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Under President Thaddeus Reade, the school slowly moves from traditional Methodist culture to the Holiness movement, which promoted prayer and the direct work of the Holy Spirit in peoples’ lives.


Liberian student Samuel Morris passes away. Even though he was a student for only a year and a half, his life’s impact and influence on Taylor University continues to this day.


Taylor moves to Upland, Indiana, drawn by the natural gas boom of East Central Indiana.


The Wright Brothers take flight, Susan B. Anthony dies, and the NAACP is founded.

Taylor focuses on educating local working-class students, emphasizing religious education first, and academic training second. This leads to a constant budget crisis. Burt W. Ayres, serving twice as interim president, was the pinnacle of Taylor in pre-war history.


The oldest surviving building on Taylor’s campus, Sickler Hall, is built as inexpensive housing for missionary children. It later serves as an academic building and office.



The Echo, Taylor’s student-run newspaper, is founded.


US enters WWI.


Under Culla Vayhinger’s leadership, Taylor is the headquarters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, part of the movement to advocate against the consumption and distribution of alcohol. This was a peak moment in Taylor’s rich history of the temperance movement.


The 19th Amendment is ratified, the Roaring 20s take off, and the Scopes’ trial begins.


The Student Council is started, creating one of the first opportunities for students to give lasting input into major decisions for their university.


A Mastodon skeleton is discovered three miles from campus. Taylor students and professors work to unearth it, filmed by 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Pathe News Service.


The stock market crashes, leading to the Great Depression.


Al Capone is convicted of tax evasion, Jesse Owens wins 4 gold medals, and Amelia Earhart disappears.


Taylor carries on despite the stock market crash. A creative marketing campaign boasts the hardiness of a rural life, an affordable education, and creative ways to invest, such as gold and annuity bonds.

The first Youth Conference invites high school students for a revival-style weekend. This event continued until the 2010s.


Intercollegiate basketball, baseball, and track start. Less formal women’s teams had already been unofficially competing locally.


WWII draws to a close, George Orwell publishes 1984, and Charles Yeager breaks the sound barrier.

The religious backgrounds of students are changing, with Taylor becoming less connected with a specific church (Methodist) and theological system (Wesleyan-Armenian). An increasing number of students come from independent, Baptist, and small-denomination churches.


WWII ends on September 2, 1945.


Taylor’s Centennial celebration includes Missionary Day, a student artists recital, a “One Hundred Years” literary pageant, Alumni Day, and the groundbreaking for a new library, later named Ayres-Alumni Memorial Library.


Taylor achieves regional accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. With increasing financial stability in the post-war era, Taylor is able to employ highly educated and highly qualified faculty.


Taylor University gains admission into the Hoosier College Conference for athletics, and a football team is formed. Taylor Football placed first in the conference its second year, despite a previous no-win season, inexperienced players, and borrowed equipment.


RCA broadcasts the first color television, DNA is discovered, and the Cold War is in full swing.


The Venture for Victory basketball program is founded. Don Odle led a team to Taiwan to play, and after attracting the crowds, he would preach at halftime and post-game.


Taylor University gains admission into the Hoosier College Conference for athletics, and a football team is formed. Taylor Football placed first in the conference its second year, despite a previous no-win season, inexperienced players, and borrowed equipment.

October 30, 1954


the Trojans play Fisk University in the first interracial football game ever played in the state of Tennessee, in spite of this game being declared illegal.
October 30, 1954


Taylathon’s origins begin.


Student enrollment at Taylor University reached a new all-time record of 725. Of this number, 260 were freshmen and 69 were transfer students


James H. Meredith becomes the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi. the first man walks on the moon, and Woodstock draws more than 45,000 people.


A terrible fire in the administration building destroys the “nerve center” of the university, and leaders consider relocating away from Upland.
Taylor World Outreach is founded. Taylor is a missions-oriented school, as students extend what they learn in the classroom to the rest of the world. An official program was developed to support the students going on interim, summer, spring break, and semester trips around the world.


Martin Luther King Jr. gives “I Have a Dream” Speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.


Coach Bob Davenport starts Wandering Wheels as an initiative to get students outside, active, and learning about Christ through nature through bike trips. The program grew to international trips, attracting people from outside of Taylor and inspiring many offshoot groups.


Under the direction of Milo Rediger, Taylor underwent rapid physical growth. As post-war prosperity grew, Taylor admitted its largest class. Academic programs became more rigorous and diverse.


Taylor World Outreach (TWO) is formed by initiation from campus pastor Rev. Peter Pascoe to support the students going on interterm, summer, spring break, and semester trips around the world.


The first computer and computer science professors come to Taylor. Computer Science became a degree program in the early 1970s, and as early as 1983, computer learning experience was required for all students.


January Interterms (now J-Terms) are instituted, now offered tuition-free.


The Nationwide Vietnam Moratorium begins, where Taylor students took active roles in monthly protests against the Vietnam war.


President Nixon resigns from office, NASA’s Viking 1 lands on Mars, Roots debuts on television.

Taylor’s first student-run radio begins. In 1995, it became WTUR, an FM station.


Taylor experiences its first Nostalgia Night.


A national energy crisis leads to cutbacks and drastic energy-saving measures on campus.


Cats debuts on Broadway, The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, John Lennon is murdered.

The Life Together Covenant was written, which continues to guide how the Taylor community lives, works, and studies.


Mu Kappa was founded as a support group for missionary kids and third-culture kids. Today, Mu Kappa chapters are located in colleges across the country.


National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) was founded as the first leadership conference entirely run and led by students.


The general education curriculum was reworked to have the core requirements that Taylor still has today: the integration of faith and learning; computer literacy; whole-person education values and disciplines; enhanced global awareness, and basic skills; biblical requirements; and strong liberal arts foundation.


The Chernobyl Disaster unfolds on April 26, 1986.


Summer research programs were officially instituted for students to research and work under professors.


The Soviet Union collapses, Diana Princess of Wales dies, and Iraq invades Kuwait.


Taylor opens a Fort Wayne, Indiana, campus by merging with Summit Christian College (formerly Fort Wayne Bible College). The goal of the new urban campus was to serve less advantaged populations, just as Taylor had done in Fort Wayne nearly 150 years before.


Taylor students begin working on the first of many satellites launched into space by NASA.


Taylor joins the National Association of Athletics (NAIA).


Taylor celebrates its Sesquicentennial with the dedication of three statues to Samuel Morris.


The tradition of Silent Night is established. In 2010, Sports Illustrated named it the best tradition in college basketball, and the 2015 game was featured by ESPN.


The attacks of 9/11 change the world, Apple unveils its first iPod, and Barack Obama is elected as America’s first African American President.


Taylor opens a Fort Wayne, Indiana, campus by merging with Summit Christian College (formerly Fort Wayne Bible College). The goal of the new urban campus was to serve less advantaged populations, just as Taylor had done in Fort Wayne nearly 150 years before.


Taylor offers graduate-level programs, which today include Transition to Teaching, Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Development, and Master of Arts in Ministry.


Taylor’s nationally-recognized Film and Media Production major starts. With over 500 awards, it has become one of the fastest-growing programs at Taylor, and it will have a dedicated building built in 2024.


A tragic van accident resulted in the loss of five Taylor community members. The Memorial Prayer Chapel was constructed and dedicated in their memory, as well as honoring the lives of other faculty, staff, and students who passed away while at Taylor.


The Fort Wayne Campus is closed. Radio station WBCL continues to broadcast throughout North Central Indiana.


Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Prize.


Air Force selects Taylor satellite design for launch; Taylor Ethics Bowl wins National Championship, and Taylor Lyric Theatre Program wins national award.


Taylor welcomes the largest-ever incoming freshman class.


Taylor Theatre production, The Rabbit Hole, receives 10 national honors during the Kennedy Center competition.


The world reports its first cases COVID-19.


The world reports its first cases COVID-19.


Taylor welcomes its most diverse freshman class. Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of campus in March, classes return to in-person instruction for the fall semester.


On Taylor’s 175th birthday, Taylor now hosts 1,786 undergraduate students from 41 states and 25 foreign countries. All students still take the biblical core requirements, reflecting Thaddeus Reade’s desire for all students to be taking biblical classes. Chapel has been a staple of campus, as 80 percent of students choose to attend, echoing Milo Rediger’s belief that students will prioritize their spiritual development if given the freedom to choose. Taylor students now participate in 126 programs and majors, and the academic rigor, first encouraged by Burt Ayres, persists, as freshmen enter campus with a 3.87 average high school GPA.

Memories At Taylor

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