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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
October 30, 1954
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.
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.
Taylor experiences its first Nostalgia Night.
A national energy crisis leads to cutbacks and drastic energy-saving measures on campus.
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.
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 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.
Taylor welcomes the largest-ever incoming freshman class.
The world reports its first cases COVID-19.
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.