Colleges and Universities of Ohio | A Time Series Map

The map below is a time series map that begins with the founding of Ohio University in 1804 and shows the founding of all other universities and colleges in Ohio up to the present day.



There are 62 colleges and universities in Ohio that offer four year degrees. 14 are public universities, while 48 are private. These 48 are represented by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Ohio (AICUO). Two colleges (Central State University and Wilberforce University) are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Not all universities shown on this map have served students in all of the consecutive years. Universities such as Miami University, Antioch University, and Wilberforce University have shut down at one period or another because of funding issues.

The first university to be established in Ohio, Ohio University, was first chartered by the state assembly in Ohio in 1804 to offer college education to people living in the state of Ohio (Ohio History Central). The earliest universities in Ohio were founded by various religious organizations seeking to educate their members living in the frontier, with Kenyon College, established in 1824, being the first. Traditionally, most universities before then had admitted only men. Oberlin College began to admit women thus becoming the first coeducational college in the United States. Oberlin College was also the first college in the United States to admit African Americans (National Historical Landmarks).

The largest number of universities that were founded in a single year in the state of Ohio was six, in 1850. There was a ten year break between the founding of Wilberforce University and Lake Erie College in 1856 and the founding of the College of Wooster in 1866 due to the Civil War. In the 1870s, the universities of Ohio State, Toledo, and Akron were founded under the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862 which allowed for the establishment of colleges through land grants (Ohio State). It was not until the turn of the century in the Progressive Era when the state of Ohio began using taxpayer money to fund public universities (Ohio History Central). Bowling Green State University and Kent State were established through the passage of the Lowry Bill in 1910 to offer public college education in Northern Ohio (Kent State).

By the 1920s, the establishment of colleges and universities had slowed considerably. Though there was a stronger emphasis to establish branch campuses in the postwar era, four public universities were established which included Cleveland State University, Wright State University, NEOMED, and Shawnee State University. Six private universities were also founded in the postwar era too. The last university to be established in Ohio was Shawnee State University in 1986 through an act by the former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Vern Riffe (Shawnee State).



“Ohio University” Ohio History Central Website. <>. Retrieved July 3, 2012.

“Oberlin College” National Historical Landmarks Program. National Historical Landmarks Website. <>. Retrieved July 3, 2012.

“Ohio State History and Traditions” Ohio State. Ohio State University Website. <>. Retrieved July 3, 2012.

“Kent State University History” Special Collections and Archives: Frequently Asked Questions. Kent State University Website. <>. Retrieved July 3, 2012.

“Who is Vern Riffe?” Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. Shawnee State University Website. <>. Retrieved July 3, 2012.